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EOC pleased with first year results of career readiness exam

Mon, 09/17/2018

Columbia – Today, the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) released the results of the WorkKeys®, a career-readiness assessment that was administered to all students in grade 11 during the 2014-15 school year. Results from this exam indicate a student’s readiness for foundational workplace skills, and many employers use the results to choose qualified job applicants for open positions. South Carolina joins three other states – Alabama, Michigan, and Wisconsin – in requiring WorkKeys® testing of all students in a particular grade.

Statewide, 88 percent of all 11th graders taking the assessment earned a National Career Readiness Certificate on WorkKeys®. The table below records the percentage of students in school districts and in schools that received a Bronze or better certificate. One-fourth of all districts had 91 percent or more of its students earn a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum National Career Readiness Certificate. Approximately 37 percent of high schools had over 91 percent of its students earning the readiness certificate, an important step for young people preparing to further their education, training, or careers.

“The Education Oversight Committee is extremely pleased to see the results of the first WorkKeys® administration of 11th graders,” stated Melanie Barton, EOC’s Executive Director. “These young people are now armed with information that can help them, their families, and potential employers make decisions about their future.”

Barton also stated that these data are an opportunity to focus on students who are not on a careerready path. School districts are encouraged to provide remediation to students this year and re-assess with WorkKeys® prior to graduation.

“At a minimum, we all have a responsibility to make certain that these students can earn a living wage and become productive contributors to our communities,” Barton stated. “The Governor and the General Assembly have successfully recruited high paying, high tech jobs to this state. We in education have to prepare students for these jobs in South Carolina and elsewhere.”

Act 155 of 2014 eliminated HSAP, the high school exit exam assessment, and instead required all students in grade 11 to take WorkKeys®, as well as a college readiness assessment, which was ACT, last year. By law, the goal is to administer assessments that can: “(1) assist students, parents, teachers, and guidance counselors in developing individual graduation plans and in selecting courses aligned with each student’s future ambitions; (2) promote South Carolina’s Work Ready Communities initiative; and (3) meet federal and state accountability requirements.”

For comparison purposes, in 2014, 77 percent of tenth graders who took the HSAP passed both sections -- English Language Arts and math -- on the first attempt.

What do the different certification levels mean for students?
Levels: Examinee has necessary foundational skills for:
Platinum* 99% of the jobs in the WorkKeys database*
Gold 93% of the jobs in the WorkKeys database
Silver 67% of the jobs in the WorkKeys database
Bronze 16% of the jobs in the WorkKeys database

* The WorkKeys database consists of occupational profiles of jobs that have been included. Jobs are profiled based on the skill levels required for each, and include minimum score levels on WorkKeys assessments.

For comparison purposes, the state of Kentucky defines career ready students as students who earn at least a silver certificate on WorkKeys® or the 50th percentile on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). In South Carolina, 62.9% of all students earned a Silver National Career Readiness Certificate or higher. By district, Table 2, documents the percentage of students in school districts that earned a Silver, Gold or Platinum National Career Readiness Certificate.

Table 2
Percentage of Students Earning Silver or Better National Career Readiness Certificate
(Districts Listed in order of Highest Percentage to Lowest)
% of Students #
District(s) Name
91% to 100% 0  
81%-90% 1 York 4
71% to 80% 7 Lexington 1, York 2, Spartanburg 4, Lexington 5, Anderson 1, Greenwood 52, Pickens
61% to 70% 30 Spartanburg 5, Spartanburg 2, Beaufort, Oconee, Horry, Spartanburg 1, Greenville, Edgefield, Anderson 4, York 1, Charleston, Abbeville,, Anderson 3, Saluda, Dorchester 2, Anderson 2, Spartanburg 3, Florence 5, Spartanburg 6, SC Charter School District, Lexington 3, Greenwood 50,York 3, Berkeley, Greenwood 51, Kershaw, Cherokee, Richland 2
51% to 60% 18 Calhoun, Darlington, Anderson 5, Dillon 3, Spartanburg 7, Lexington 2, Clarendon 3, Lexington 4, Lancaster, Chesterfield, Newberry, Bamberg 1,Colleton, Florence 1,Orangeburg 4, Laurens 55,Dorchester 4,Union
41% to 50% 16 Florence 3, Barnwell 45, Laurens 56, Sumter, Chester, Marlboro, Richland 1, Barnwell 29, Jasper, Dillon 4, McCormick, Florence 2, Marion, Orangeburg 5, Orangeburg 3, Hampton 1
31% to 40% 4 Clarendon 2, Williamsburg, Fairfield, Lee
21% to 30% 4 Bamberg 2, Barnwell 19, Clarendon 1, Florence 4
11% to 20% 2 Allendale, Hampton 2
0% to 10% 0  

The SC Education Oversight Committee is an independent, non-partisan group made up of 18 educators, business persons, and elected leaders. Created in 1998, the committee is dedicated to reporting facts, measuring change, and promoting progress within South Carolina’s education system.