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Work Keys

Posted by titantv on March 6, 2014 at 12:30 AM

By Kayla Gallion 

 

Last Thursday, seniors took a test new to McDowell High this year. The WorkKeys test, given by ACT, assesses the skills students would need to use in a job and tests how ready they are to join the workforce. Several employers require potential employees to take this test, and now current seniors are one step ahead of the game.

Many students at MHS are college bound, but there are several more who intend to go straight to work after graduation. For those seniors, this test was an excellent opportunity to get them prepared for the future, and by taking it here, they were able to take it for free. However, the WorkKeys also benefits those attending college next year, because students who did well could get honor cords for graduation and their scores were put on their transcript. This test even helped the school, because as Mrs. Jessica Ferguson said, “one of the things we have to prove as a school is that we are preparing students for careers as well as college, and the test does help show this.”

Unfortunately, not everything ran smoothly as seniors experimented with the new test. ACT servers had issues, and as everyone tried to move through each test section, it often would log students out or close them out of the page altogether. This was frustrating for students and teachers alike, but with the help of the technology department and the patience of everyone in the testing areas, the problems were eventually worked through. Said Ferguson, “I think everyone did the best they could with what they had.” Most teachers agree, and Mr. Eric Cole feels that this was “a baseline year for comparison,” and that things will continue to improve in the future.

Though the server frustrations and yet another standardized test infuriated some, this test ultimately provides a lot of good things for McDowell seniors. Senior Brooklyn Davis shares the view of many students, feeling that “the test was a waste of time for people who weren’t interested in careers involved in what that test covers.” She believes “it should have been on a voluntary basis.” Ferguson sympathizes with the students, saying, “I think students are frustrated because they’re being given too many tests, and its hard for me as an educator to justify why they have to take so many.” However, she does add that decisions to take standardized tests are made in Raleigh, not school by school, and that this one had some benefits. Cole remains an optimist about the test, saying that “a student earns one of four certifications,” which regardless can be extremely helpful because no matter what happens in these students lives, they will now have something that “can be carried with them to show potential employers they have a level of skills required for the workplace.” Seniors may not necessarily be thrilled to add another test to the ever-growing list, but the administration and the state feels a lot of good can come from taking the WorkKeys.

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