Career Preparation Certificate Program
Numerous effective assessments are available to determine individual knowledge and skill levels. Missouri schools use criterion- and norm-referenced assessment results to document mastery of specific academic knowledge and skills. However, few assessments address work-readiness behaviors and characteristics. Employers may use assessments to determine an individual’s desirable and undesirable characteristics. However, these may not be appropriate for schools to administer.
Several of the most prevalent and promising assessments in Missouri schools were analyzed and aligned to the academic and work readiness components. The assessment summary was developed with assistance from each of the sponsoring companies and organizations. Each assessment was cross-referenced to the underlying knowledge and performance expectations for each component. A more detailed analysis of assessments is recommended in determining the most appropriate selection for a local or regional program.
- Missouri Assessment Program
- Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
- ACT WorkKeys
- National Occupational Competency Testing Institute
Assessment Summary (pdf)
The Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) is one of several educational reforms mandated by state law in 1993. The law directed the State Board of Education and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to identify the knowledge, skills, and competencies that Missouri students should acquire by the time they complete high school, and to evaluate student progress toward those academic standards.
In February 2007, the State Board of Education approved a change in the method of MAP testing in the high school grades. Beginning with the 2008-09 school year, end-of-course tests in algebra I, English II and biology will replace the current MAP exams used in grades 10 and 11. Eventually, end-of-course tests will be offered for the following subjects:
- Geometry and Algebra II
- English I
- Chemistry and Physical Science
- American Government and American History
The ACT test assesses high school students’ general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. The multiple-choice test covers four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science. The writing test, which is optional, measures skill in planning and writing a short essay. Both tests emphasize reasoning, analysis, problem solving, and the integration of learning from various sources, as well as the application of these proficiencies to the kinds of tasks that college students are expected to perform.
ACT’s PLAN program helps 10th graders build a solid foundation for future academic and career success and provides information needed to address school districts’ high-priority issues. It is a comprehensive guidance resource that helps students measure their current academic development, explore career/training options, and make plans for their remaining time in high school and the post-graduation years. Typically, it is administered in the fall of the sophomore year.
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a comprehensive career exploration and planning program that includes a multiple aptitude test battery, an interest inventory, and various career-planning tools designed to help students explore the world of work. The ASVAB is intended for use with students in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades as well as students in postsecondary schools. The program provides tools, including the test battery and interest inventory, developed by the Department of Defense to help students across the nation learn more about career exploration and planning.
ACT’s WorkKeys is a job skills assessment system that assesses selected work competencies. The Foundational Skills Assessments (Applied Mathematics, Applied Technology, Business Writing, Listening, Locating Information, Observation, Readiness, Reading for Information, Teamwork, and Writing) measure different applied job skills in the areas of communication, problem solving and interpersonal skills. The Personal Skills Assessments (Performance, Talent, and Fit) are designed to predict job behavior and measure the full potential of individuals.
The National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) provides occupational competency assessment products and services to secondary and postsecondary educational institutions. NOCTI offers more than 170 standardized technical assessments in a variety of occupational fields. The assessments are built upon nationally validated, workplace-based standards.
Missouri Connections is an online resource designed to guide students through the career planning and preparation process. The system is designed to ease students into college and career exploration, and direct preparation for transition into postsecondary education and the world of work. The assessments, which are integral components of the system, define personal interests, skills, and work values. This information can then be utilized to focus on career possibilities. Students develop a flexible personal plan of study of coursework, including school and community experiences, which help them gain the knowledge and skills that relate to their career interests. In addition, Missouri Connections provides for a lifelong online e-portfolio in which a record of career exploration, planning, assessment, work experience, and academic achievement can be stored and updated.