T.F. Riggs High School Principal Kevin Mutchelknaus, Pierre, talks about his school’s experience with the National Career Readiness Certificate program.

Nov. 18-22 is American Education Week

American Education Week is a chance to celebrate public education! Thanks to all teachers, administrators, support staff and parents who play an essential role in educating our students.

2013 NAEP results announced

South Dakota’s fourth grade and eighth grade scores for math and reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have remained steady since the test was first administered in the state in 2002.

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South Dakota beta-testing ACT® National Career Readiness Certificate program

The Department of Education is collaborating with the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation during the 2013-14 school year for a beta-test of the ACT® National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) program. The NCRC is an industry-recognized, portable credential certifying essential skills needed for workplace success.

Some funding is still available for high school juniors and seniors wanting to participate in this year’s pilot. Principals, school counselors, and teachers are also welcome to get acquainted with the process by taking the assessments.

Click here for an application.

DLR staff assist in assessing students on-site at a school. Schools need to supply space and one computer per student, as the program is administered online. Students are allowed 55 minutes to complete each of three ACT® WorkKeys assessments (Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information and Locating Information). The program can be incorporated into specific classes or the tests can be offered to all juniors and seniors.

Based on their performance, students receive bronze, silver, gold or platinum-level certification. On the ACT® website, students can use their test scores to learn what careers match their current skill set and conversely, they can research careers of interest to determine what skills they need to obtain.

Administrators at T.F. Riggs High School in Pierre chose to start implementing the NCRC in 2012 and have gotten positive feedback from students. “We’ve actually even had students come back in and say, ‘Well I’d like to re-take it and see if I can achieve a higher level.’ It gives them an idea of skills they have and skills they might need to work on,” said Principal Kevin Mutchelknaus.

Practice tests and sample questions can also be found online. According to ACT, the three WorkKeys assessments measure skills necessary for 77% of all careers.

The NCRC is an asset for students whether they choose to enter the workforce immediately after high school graduation or pursue postsecondary education. Some South Dakota businesses already prefer applicants who have obtained an NCRC.

This initiative is part of the Department of Education’s goal to help prepare South Dakota students for jobs in the 21st century workforce and ensure that all students graduate college, career and life ready.

For more information, contact Tiffany Sanderson, South Dakota Department of Education, (605) 773-7006.