Applying work-ready tools.
RECENT FOCUS ON OUR COUNTRY'S SKILL GAP, THE NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Public Law 107-110), commonly known as NCLB (IPA: /ˈnɪkəlbiː/), is a United States federal law that was passed in the House of Representatives on May 23, 2001 (NCLB NCLB No Child Left Behind (US education initiative) ), and other influences have illustrated the need for an abrupt and disruptive change in our educational system. It remains to be seen how--or if--the system as it is designed will tolerate revolutionary transformation. Regardless of the answer, the change will happen. In response, many educational systems across the country are employing widely-accepted tools and supplemental curricula within their current programs in order to ease the pain of this transition, making revolutionary change feel a little more evolutionary. Foremost among such tools are career-ready, or work-ready, curricula and measurements. Best practices outlined in this article are not only preparing students for the 21st century workforce, but are also helping to meet NCLB's Adequate Yearly Progress Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, is a measurement defined by the United States federal No Child Left Behind Act that allows the U.S. Department of Education to determine how every public school and school district in the country is performing academically. (AYP AYP Adequate Yearly Progress (National Assessment of Educational Progress)
AYP Anarchist Yellow Pages
AYP American Youth Philharmonic ) and satisfy Perkins requirements.
Social and Educational Change
Recent developments have driven new thought about how we educate our students in this country; however, our way of doing things really hasn't changed much. We know that the type of education our students receive must change for modern times; however it is essential to recognize that changes in the social contracts we all seem to accept must parallel the educational transformation. While we are not outspoken about it, as a society we still generally accept these conventions:
* The top students, the brightest from our high schools, continue their education and earn professional degrees.
* The next tier of students, those with good cognitive skills, enters into apprenticeship programs, technical schools, or obtains two-year degrees.
* The third group completes high school or drops out and works in factories and in businesses owned by the first two groups.
* The last group, special needs students who are physically or cognitively challenged, is mainstreamed into further education or work if feasible, enters special transition programs, or is cared for by the first three groups.
As mentioned, we aren't explicit about this social contract, hut this is primarily how we still operate. To change this system, we must embrace methods to teach, measure and credential the skills necessary for workplace success in a way that is understood by both schools and businesses.
Ready for College and Work
We can blame globalization globalization
Process by which the experience of everyday life, marked by the diffusion of commodities and ideas, is becoming standardized around the world. Factors that have contributed to globalization include increasingly sophisticated communications and transportation or many other factors but regardless of the reason, the old contract doesn't work anymore. Sixty-four percent of jobs now require some postsecondary training or a two-year degree. Many of the lower-skilled jobs previously filled by high school graduates or dropouts are now outsourced to workers in other countries or filled by imported labor. Students' ability to compete for family wage jobs will depend in large part on their skills and what they can do, not just what they know.
Building on Results: A Blueprint for Strengthening the No Child Left Behind Act reflects some of the challenges this changed world poses. NCLB emphasizes both the importance of academic skill achievement as an accountability measure for all students and student readiness for the transition into employment, training or college. Every student is expected to graduate with a diploma "that indicates readiness for success in postsecondary education and the 21st century workforce."
In 2006, ACT released the results of a study researching the comparability of skills in reading and math needed by students to succeed in the workplace with the academic skills needed for success in college. The findings summarized in Ready for College and Ready for Work: Same or Different? suggest that "all high school students should be educated according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. a common academic expectation that prepares them for both postsecondary education and the workforce." The implications of this research mirror the objectives of NCLB--all students should graduate high school ready to succeed in college and the workplace.
Resources--Defining and Measuring Skills
Today's prospects for students transitioning from secondary education depend largely on the skills they can apply in the workplace. In response, many educational systems are employing work readiness resources to facilitate the transition from high school to further education or employment. A resource that is proving valuable is the ACT WorkKeys job skill system. The WorkKeys system is being applied in an increasing number of secondary and postsecondary institutions to prepare students for the transition from high school to community college or the workplace, and from postsecondary education to careers.
WorkKeys is a system that measures the real-world skills that employers have indicated are critical to job success. The skills are applied in any occupation--skilled or professional--and at any level of education. WorkKeys is used by companies, workforce development programs, government agencies, and educational institutions to select, train and retain qualified employees. Most importantly Adv. 1. most importantly - above and beyond all other consideration; "above all, you must be independent"
above all, most especially the system is sanctioned by businesses across the country. The National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC NCRC National Community Reinvestment Coalition
NCRC National Cave Rescue Commission
NCRC National Capital Revitalization Corporation
NCRC Nonwovens Cooperative Research Center
NCRC National Campus and Community Radio Conference (Canada) ) system is based on WorkKeys' Reading for Information, Applied Mathematics, and Locating Information assessments. Students and job seekers across the country can obtain a certificate that documents their level of skills and allows for a direct comparison to the skills required for occupations. Some educators have an NCRC goal for all students. Individual Education Plans for special needs or at-risk students The term at-risk students is used to describe students who are "at risk" of failing academically, for one or more of any several reasons. The term can be used to describe a wide variety of students, including,
Best Practices in Special Populations
States and school systems are recognizing the value of these work-ready skills. The Virginia Department of Education offers an alternative high school diploma A high school diploma is a diploma awarded for the completion of high school. In the United States and Canada, it is considered the minimum education required for government jobs and higher education. An equivalent is the GED. for certain students with disabilities who are unlikely to meet the credit requirements for a standard diploma. Cut-off scores on the WorkKeys Reading for Information and Applied Mathematics assessments are approved measures of literacy and numeracy numeracy Mathematical literacy Neurology The ability to understand mathematical concepts, perform calculations and interpret and use statistical information. Cf Acalculia. for the modified standard diploma.
Illinois includes the WorkKeys Reading for Information and Applied Mathematics tests in the Prairie State Achievement Examination The Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE) is a two-day standardized test taken by all High School Juniors in Illinois. On the first day, students take the ACT, and on the second day, a WorkKeys examination and Illinois State Board of Education-developed science (PSAE PSAE Prairie State Achievement Examination
PSAE Philippine Society of Agricultural Engineers
PSAE Patient Self-Assessment of Erection (rating scale) ), a state assessment administered to all grade 11 students. The PSAE assesses the progress of schools and individual students in meeting the Illinois Learning Standards Learning Standards is a term used to describe standards applied to education content, particularly in the US K-12 space.
The Learning Standards themselves can can be found on the individual web sites for states  for math, reading, science and writing. KeyTrain is being utilized as a supplemental curriculum in hundreds of schools in Illinois with significant success.
Best Practices in Special Populations
Supplemental curriculum for applied skills is being used effectively in high schools with all students, including at-risk populations. An example is Baldwin County High School Baldwin County High School serves grades 9-12 and is located in Bay Minette, Baldwin County, Alabama, forming part of the Baldwin County Public Schools.
Baldwin County High School serves the city of Bay Minette and the unincorporated communities of White House Fork, in Georgia. A doctoral candidate teaching at the school conducted a study to evaluate how using KeyTrain impacted the performance of at-risk students on the Georgia High School Graduation Test The Georgia High School Graduation Test, or GHSGT, administered to all students in the eleventh grade, determines whether or not a student will graduate from a Georgia (USA) high school. (GHSGT GHSGT Georgia High School Graduation Test .) The results of this study revealed that the KeyTrain remediation courses had a dramatic effect in improving the academic performance of the students who used it on the mathematics and English and language arts language arts
The subjects, including reading, spelling, and composition, aimed at developing reading and writing skills, usually taught in elementary and secondary school. sections of the GHSGT. The most significant gains were seen in the special education, low socio economic, and African American African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race. subgroups on the mathematics section of the test.
Change is imminent. If students cannot attain the skills needed for success in college or the workplace, they will not compete in the 21st century economy. Resources that aid in improving student readiness for further education or employment in this competitive world will be invaluable tools in the educator's toolkit and can provide a realistic path to the necessary change in our education system.
Justin Saylor is vice president of KeyTrain. He can be contacted at justin. firstname.lastname@example.org.