Alabama College- and Career-Readiness Assessment System

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1 ACT WorkKeys will be offered to all 12th grade students in public schools in Spring ACT WorkKeys is a job skills assessment system that helps employers select, hire, train, develop, and retain a high-performance workforce. This series of tests measures foundational and soft skills and offers specialized assessments to target institutional needs. For Students: Taking the ACT WorkKeys tests is an important first step to prepare for education, training, or a career. Because test questions are based on situations in the everyday work world, ACT WorkKeys scores help job seekers compare their skills to the skills real jobs require. These scores help employers choose the most qualified candidates for their jobs. Successful completion of ACT WorkKeys assesments can lead to earning ACT's National Career Readiness Certificate. The Certificate is a portable credential that shows employers anywhere in the United States the achievement of a certain level of workplace employability skills in Applied Mathematics, and Locating Information, and Reading for Information. These workplace skills are highly important to the majority of jobs in the workplace. As part of ACT's Work Readiness System, ACT WorkKeys has helped millions of people in high schools, colleges, professional associations, businesses, and government agencies build their skills to increase global competitiveness and develop successful career pathways. For Employers: ACT WorkKeys offers a complete solution for employee selection and development. Our powerful solution includes both Foundational Skills and Soft Skills assessments, enabling assessment of the full potential of applicants and employees. The tools in this comprehensive system can be mixed and matched to meet diverse organizational needs. Our job analysis solutions allow for the establishment of organizational guidelines and benchmarks for employee selection and development.

2 The ACT Plus Writing will be given to all 11th grade students, free of charge, beginning April 23, The ACT college readiness assessment contains five curriculum- and standards-based assessments: English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and an optional Writing Test. The assessment is used as a college admissions and placement test and measures the skills and knowledge needed for first-year college success. Additionally, the ACT includes a career exploration component that stimulates students' thinking about future plans and relates personal characteristics to career options. The ACT motivates students to perform to their best ability. Test scores reflect what students have learned throughout high school and provide colleges and universities with excellent information for recruiting, advising, placement, and retention. Taking the test often results in increased college enrollment, especially for underrepresented students. To support college and career planning, the ACT career exploration component helps students identify career options. The ACT is the capstone of the College and Career Readiness System. The test uses the same score scale as ACT Explore and ACT Plan, making the system an effective tool to monitor academic progress and student growth. Quick facts about the ACT: The ACT is accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the United States. The ACT is not an aptitude or an IQ test. Instead, the questions on the ACT are directly related to what students have learned in high school courses. More than 1.66 million high school students in the graduating class of 2013 took the ACT. The ACT is administered in all 50 of the United States and in many other countries. Students may review these practice questions to help familiarize themselves with the ACT. In addition, all public school students in grades 9-12 have access to ACT OnLine Prep. Students should see their school counselors for more information.

3 ACT Quality Core also known as End of Course tests, is currently offered to public high school students taking English 10 and Algebra I. ACT QualityCore is a research-based system designed to help schools better prepare all students for college and workforce training. The system includes educator's resources, formative items and end of course assessments to help students stay on track in English and Algebra. QualityCore also ensures that high school core courses are focused on the most essential postsecondary skills and enables educators to monitor progress toward, and attainment of, those skills. QualityCore allows educators, administrators, and policymakers to: Focus on fewer, clearer, and higher course standards that are the essentials for college and career readiness Use formative assessments to guide instruction and make targeted interventions Measure student progress through benchmark and end-of-course assessments Provide professional development resources and training opportunities for teachers and leaders Customize instruction to the needs of specific classrooms, schools, and districts From course standards to test blueprints and model instructional units, QualityCore's breadth and depth of educational resources allow educators to customize instruction to meet their particular students' needs.

4 ACT Plan is a curriculum-based educational and career planning program for 10th graders that measures achievement in English, Math, Reading, and Science, ACT Plan helps students build a solid foundation for future academic and career success and provides information needed to address school districts' high-priority issues. ACT Plan has been offered to all Alabama public school students in grade 10 since October ACT Plan is comprehensive guidance resource that helps students measure their current academic development, explore career/training options, and make plans for the remaining years of high school and post-graduation years. It is also an excellent way for students to prepare for the ACT one of the best indicators of readiness for college. When aligned with assessments such as Aspire (3-8th grade), Explore (8th grade), ACT (11th grade), and WorkKeys (12th grade), ACT Plan will help to show a clear line of growth and trajectory towards the goal of college and career readiness after graduation. Taking ACT Plan as a 10th grader is a great way for a student to prepare for the ACT Test and helps as the student gets ready to succeed in college and beyond! ACT Plan includes four multiple-choice tests: English, Math, Reading, and Science. The skills learned in these subjects will make a big difference in school and, eventually, in a career. The ACT Plan score report will help identify a student s strengths and areas where the student needs improvement. In addition, the student participates in a career activity that stimulates the student s exploration about future plans and relates personal characteristics to career options. ACT's 2009 study, Using PLAN to Identify Student Readiness for Rigorous Courses in High School examines the relationship between students' scores on ACT Plan and their scores on selected AP Exams. In this study, ACT developed new score linkages for AP courses that align in curricular content with the four ACT Plan tests and updated the linkages found in earlier studies. Results from this study show that ACT Plan test scores are good predictors of success in AP courses. *ACT Plan will sunset in October 2014 and will be replaced by ACT Aspire in the school year.

5 ACT Explore is a curriculum-based educational and career planning program that measures achievement in English, Math, Reading, and Science. ACT Explore has been offered to all Alabama public school students in grade 8 since October The assessment is based on the major areas of high school and postsecondary instructional programs and measures the skills and knowledge needed for college success. Additionally, ACT Explore includes a career exploration component that stimulates students' thinking about future plans and relates personal characteristics to career options. When aligned with assessments such as Aspire (3-8th grade), PLAN (10th grade), ACT (11th grade), and WorkKeys (12th grade), ACT Explore will help to show a clear line of growth and trajectory towards the goal of college and career readiness after graduation. Results from the ACT Explore gives 8th grade students information they need to know to plan high school courses, to prepare for the ACT Test, to think about college, or to choose a career direction. ACT Explore includes four multiple-choice tests: English, Math, Reading, and Science. The skills in these subjects will make a big difference in school and, eventually, in a career. The ACT Explore score report will help identify a student s strengths and areas that need improvement. ACT Explore data gives educators, students, and families early insight into a student's level of preparedness for college and career by high school graduation. Access to ACT Explore data will: Provide the first step toward longitudinal student monitoring starting in 8th grade through high school. Identify areas of academic risk and allow for early intervention. Provide teachers with insights into student understanding, to better inform instructional practices and areas needing improvement ACT Explore and ACT Plan will sunset in fall 2014 and will be replaced by ACT Aspire.

6 Beginning April 28, over 370,000 students in grades 3-8 will be tested in Reading and Math using the ACT Aspire assessment. At no cost, districts also have the option to give Science, English, and Writing tests. By moving to ACT Aspire, testing time is reduced from five days to four hours or less. ACT Aspire can be administered via computer or with a pencil-pencil assessment. ACT Aspire assesses content areas of reading and math in Grades 3-8. When aligned with assessments such as EXPLORE (8th grade), PLAN (10th grade), ACT (11th grade), and WorkKeys (12th grade), ACT Aspire data will help to show a clear line of growth and trajectory towards the goal of college and career readiness after graduation. ACT Aspire: Provides longitudinal assessment data for student growth modeling from elementary grades to high school. Is empirically linked to the College Readiness Benchmark scores used on the ACT so students can be monitored to determine if they are on track for college and career readiness. Is aligned to Alabama College and Career Ready Standards. Uses multiple question types, including technology-enhanced questions, to better assess student knowledge, improve test experiences, and provide more meaningful insights. Follows the strict Data Use policy that governs all of the ACT assessments Alabama has adopted. Protecting student confidentiality will continue to be an ALSDE priority. Teachers and parents can work together to: Get detailed information about student progress toward specific learning standards Better tailor instruction and resources to help students make greater progress Obtain information about student readiness at an earlier grade Encourage students to work even harder toward attaining excellence and success in college and career readiness. The goal of the new assessment is for teachers and parents to Know Where Your Kids Are. ACT Aspire provides more information on student performance than ever before, and at a much earlier grade. The more information a teacher has the easier it is to provide the appropriate instruction. One of the most important features of the new assessment is the specific kind of information that will be provided by the reports. The goal of the reports is to tell a story about the student, to show the student's individual progress, and to make the information easy to understand. Teachers, parents and students will meet to review reports and create informed instructional decisions. The reports will answer: How did I/we do? What does it mean? What do we do next? With pictures and graphs instead of just numbers, the reports are easy to use and understand for teachers, parents and students. The reports will help to show the progress of students what they have mastered and where they need work in order to achieve mastery. There are many online resources for parents and students so they may familiarize themselves with the assessment. Visit to review sample test questions and learn more.

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