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Important Information
  • Online testing for Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents will be available June 1
    • The three new tests will be available for registration and administration online once customers have completed an updated Standard Agreement
    • Initially there will be just one form available online with no immediate retesting. ACT will notify you as soon as additional forms are active later in the summer.
    • Practice test for both Proctors and Examinees will be available online free of charge starting June 1
  • Paper and Accommodated testing materials for the new tests will be available to order starting August 1
    • You may continue to order materials for the current tests until July 21
    • New online ordering process for test materials and scoring orders will start on August 1
    • All answer documents for the current tests must be postmarked by August 18 to be processed by ACT
    • You may continue to use Express Score for the current answer documents until October 1
  • New ACT WorkKeys NCRC can be earned by examinees taking the three new tests starting June 1
  • PDFs can be generated in RegiSTAR for the new certificates as they are earned starting June 1
    • A sample of the new ACT WorkKeys NCRC is available here. The new certificate has more specific details about the skills reflected in an examinees level scores.
    • If you currently have a co-branded version of the NCRC and would like to continue to include co-branding with the new ACT WorkKeys NCRC, please notify your Account Manager or contact ACT WorkKeys Customer Service.
  • PDFs for all certificates can be generated for free by examinees in MyWorkKeys starting June 1
    • The certificates examinees can create in MyWorkKeys will always be the standard template (no co-branding on our ACT national site)
  • Spanish versions of Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents will be available starting September 1
    • This includes online, paper and accommodated materials in Spanish
  • Online Curriculum for Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents will be available starting September 1




Timeline & Transition
What is the timeline for these updates?
There will be a transition period from the current version of WorkKeys assessments, credential and curriculum to the new updates. The key dates are:

June 2017:

Jun 1: Standard CBT of updated WorkKeys Assessments available
Jun 1: Updated WorkKeys test prep packages available online
Jun 30: Last day to receive paper test materials

August 2017:

Aug 1: Standard paper forms of updated WorkKeys Assessments available
Aug 1: Updated accommodated WorkKeys Assessment forms available
Aug 18: Last day for batch scoring of paper tests (legacy)

September 2017:

Sep 1: Spanish WorkKeys Assessment forms available

October 2017

Oct 1: Current versions of WorkKeys components no longer available
What steps will ACT take to provide customers a glide path for transition to the new WorkKeys products and services?
ACT will take specific steps to ease the transition for our customers and stakeholders:
  • ACT will continue to verify the authenticity of the current versions of the certificate for four years via the MyWorkKeys or a portal with equivalent functionality.
  • Similarly, ACT will continue to count current versions of the certificate toward the participation goals established for the ACT Work Ready Communities (WRC) initiative for four years.
ACT will also provide comparison tables where possible that will help provide a bridge between the different versions. While not a substitute for the updated versions, experience suggests that even partial comparison tables* are helpful to customers.

*Comparison tables for Graphic Literacy are likely to be partial given the scope of the updates to the assessment, while those for Applied Math and Reading for Information will be more complete.
What is the final date to use the current WorkKeys NCRC assessments (Reading for Information, Locating Information, & Applied Mathematics)?
All customers have through October 1, 2017 to use the current WorkKeys NCRC assessments. Please note that in order to obtain a WorkKeys NCRC credential all three assessments need to be taken. If someone has completed one or more of the current assessments, the other assessment(s) must be the same version. Both the current and updated versions of the WorkKeys NCRC Assessments will be available online between June 1 and October 1. All orders for paper versions of the current WorkKeys NCRC assessments must be placed by June 30, 2017 and ACT will accept current paper versions for scoring through April 18, 2017 (postmarked).
Assessment Details
What are the new assessments and what has been updated?

Test

Items

Time

Replaces

Improvements

WorkKeys Applied Math

34

55 minutes

 

(both paper and online)

Applied Mathematics

·        New and updated item content to better match today's job skills

·        Increased emphasis on specific skills

·        Addition of new skills

 

WorkKeys Graphic Literacy

38

55 minutes

 

(both paper and online)

Locating Information

·        New and updated item content to better match today's job skills

·        Addition of new skills

·        Addition of new types of item stimuli

·        New score scale

·        Items have four response options instead of five

·        Fewer total number of graphics in test reduces cognitive load

 

WorkKeys Workplace Documents

35

55 minutes

 

(both paper and online)

Reading for Information

·        New and updated item content to better match today's job skills

·        Addition of new types of item stimuli

 

What formats will be available for the WorkKeys Assessments and Curriculum?
  • Assessments will be available in both paper-and-pencil and online versions
  • Online versions will be available on a new delivery platform for stability, security and a better user experience
  • Curriculum will be available in online format only
What’s the same between the current and new versions of the ACT WorkKeys suite of products?
Critical core continuity will exist between the versions, both in terms of their fundamental and assessment-specific features.

The Fundamentals:
  • Focus on broadly relevant career readiness skills
  • Research-based assessments
  • Assessment-based and nationally portable credential
  • Relevant to multiple education and career pathways
  • Benefits for multiple audiences
  • Complementary ‘readiness’ measure to The ACT
Key Features:
  • Criterion-referenced assessments
  • Multiple-choice format
  • Scenario-based items
  • Authentic workplace stimuli
  • Level tests based on skill hierarchies
  • Certificate issued at multiple levels
What kind of technical data and validity evidence will be available at launch of the updated products in June 2017?
As part of its test development process, ACT’s research team will conduct multiple research studies to ensure the quality and validity of the updated assessments and credential. These include:
  • Timing study – Results will be used to determine the appropriate amount of time that candidates have to complete each assessment.
  • Cognitive Lab Study
  • Scaling Study – Results will be used to develop initial scale scores and to conduct analysis to detect subgroup (gender, race/ethnicity) differences in testing.
  • Cut Score Study
  • Linking Study – Results will be used to develop a concordance table to link the old and the new versions of the assessments.
  • Mode Study – Study will evaluate any potential differences between examinee scores for online vs. paper and pencil assessments.
  • Fairness Study – Study will evaluate any potential subgroup (gender, race/ethnicity) differences in examinee scores on the assessments.
Results from these studies will be included in new WorkKeys Technical Manuals that will be released for each updated assessment as part of the June 2017 launch. Technical manuals will be available online at no cost to customers.
Certificate/Credential Details
What’s new with the updated version of the ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC)?
  • New downloadable PDF format
  • No additional fee for certificate issuance
  • The overall certificate level is still determined by the lowest level score among the three tests.
  • Graphic Literacy now has 6 levels (< 3 to 7) compared to Locating Information’s 5 levels (< 3 to 6). The new test was improved so that we could effectively measure more difficult skills without increasing the overall difficulty of the test.
  • Because of the improvements to the assessments, a Platinum certificate may be more attainable.
  • The back of the certificate now functions as a summary report, providing the specific skill description for each test based on the certificate holder’s level score.
  • The skill descriptions provided are positive summaries of what skills the certificate holder has demonstrated they possess compared to previous negative summaries in score reports of what a person needed to work on.
What happens to the value of the current ACT WorkKeys NCRC certificate when the new version is launched in June 2017?
Current versions of the assessments are no less valid measures of the skills these assessments measure. By extension, the current credential is a no less valid indicator of skills measured by these assessments.
Therefore:
  • Current versions will continue to provide relevant information about career readiness skills
  • Over time, the new NCRC will become the new and preferred standard for signaling career readiness in the market
  • ACT will continue to verify the authenticity of the current versions of the certificate for four years via the MyWorkKeys or a portal with equivalent functionality.
Sunset/Discontinued Assessments
What assessments are being sunset (discontinued) in June 2017?
The following assessments will be discontinued June 1, 2017:
  • Listening for Understanding
  • Listening and Writing
  • Performance
  • Teamwork
Will there be replacements for the assessments being sunset?
ACT is not planning any replacement or alternative assessments for the assessments being sunset. In the future, all new assessments are anticipated. Areas of exploration include 21st century skills like Information and Communication Technology and Collaborative Problem Solving. We will continue to maintain close communication with you, our partners, through all changes.
Benefits
What are the benefits of the updated WorkKeys NCRC to my organization?
  • Off-the-shelf base layer for stackable credentials
  • Facilitates skill standardization of labor pipeline
  • Facilitates benchmarking of skills for remediation
  • Helps equip displaced workers for re-entry into the workforce
  • Nationally trusted indicator of a skilled workforce
  • Attracts business and industry to local communities
  • Critical component of career readiness standards and metrics
  • Often part of ROI for federally or state funded programs
What are some key benefits from the WorkKeys Assessment updates?
  • Assessments keep pace with impacts of new technology on the workplace
  • Item content is more contemporary to today’s workplace
  • Speeded-ness concerns associated with Locating Information are addressed
  • More stable, secure, and scalable assessment delivery platform
  • Delivery on student owned and/or school issued devices
What are some key benefits from the ACT WorkKeys NCRC certificate updates?
  • Certificate is a robust indicator of an individual’s total skill set as measured by the NCRC assessments
  • Report format makes it easier to share electronically or to print locally
  • Simplified fee structure
Job Profiling
What are the impacts of these changes to job profilers and job profile-related products and services?
Several steps will be taken to ease the transition for ACT-authorized job profilers and the customers of job profile-related services:
  • The ACT job profiler tool kits will be updated to reflect the new assessment constructs
  • ACT-authorized job profilers will be trained on the new skill constructs at no additional cost to the profiler
  • Services provided by our own job profiler team will likewise be aligned to the new constructs
  • To every extent possible, profiles currently in the job profile database will be cross walked to the new assessments prior to the launch of those assessments
  • If ACT-authorized job profilers need to re-profile a job there will be a convenient way for them to add this data to the ACT job profile database
For employers who currently use the job profiles, how will the new tests work? Will they only need to assess for the changes?
Several steps will be taken to ease the transition for ACT-authorized job profilers and the customers of job profile-related services:
  • The ACT job profiler tool kits will be updated to reflect the new assessment constructs
  • ACT-authorized job profilers will be trained on the new skill constructs at no additional cost to the profiler
  • Services provided by our own job profiler team will likewise be aligned to the new constructs
  • To every extent possible, profiles currently in the job profile database will be cross walked to the new assessments prior to the launch of those assessments
  • If ACT-authorized job profilers need to re-profile a job there will be a convenient way for them to add this data to the ACT job profile database




Deadline Extension: The deadline for all US customers to transition to the new ACT WorkKeys NCRC assessments has been extended beyond Oct 1. Click here to update your agreement.

Are you an international customer? Your products will not change. Please contact Customer Care with questions at 800-967-5539 or [email protected].

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