UNION COUNTY — While more scored Bronze fewer Union County High School students scored Silver or Gold and none Platinum on a state test that measures how prepared high school students are to enter the workforce upon graduation.
In a statement released Monday, Union County School District Chief Academic Officer Cindy Langley announced that the South Carolina Department of Education had released state test scores for the ACT WorkKeys. Langley said that the ACT WorkKeys test is administered to students in their junior year of high school as the measure to ensure th students are prepared to meet the career-ready requirements of the South Carolina Profile of the 21st Century Graduate.
Langley said that at Union County High School, 75.4 percent of the 256 students tested received WorkKeys National Career Readiness certificates compared to 83.9 percent in 2016. She said that statewide 84 percent of the students received certificates compared to 86.8 percent last year. Langley said that students were tested in three areas: Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information. She said students may earn certificates at one of four proficiency levels — Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
Locally, 26.2 percent of the students earned Bronze certificates in 2017 compared to 24.3 percent in 2016. Statewide that number also increased from 21.7 percent to 23.2 percent. Students earning a bronze certificate scored a level three or higher in all three areas, which indicates a student has the necessary foundational skills for 16 percent of the jobs in the WorkKeys database.
The goal is for students to earn a Silver certificate or above since the Silver credential indicates that a student has scored level four or higher on each exam and is qualified for 67 percent of all jobs in the database. The percent of students earning a Silver certificate at UCHS decreased from 46.7 percent to 43 percent. Similarly, the percentage of students earning Silver credentials statewide decreased from 47.4% to 46 percent.
Students who earn a Gold certificate have scored level five or higher on each exam and are qualified for 93 percent of the jobs. At UCHS 6.3 percent of the students received a Gold certificate compared to 12.9 percent in 2016. Likewise, the percent of students throughout the state receiving a Gold certificate decreased from 17.2 percent to 14.7 percent this year.
The highest certification is Platinum and students earning that level are qualified for 99 percent of the jobs. Only 0.1 percent of the students statewide earned a Platinum certificate, which is a decrease from 0.2 percent in 2016. Locally, no students earned a Platinum certificate in either 2016 or 2017.
Average scores for each test are listed below:
• Applied Mathematics: 75.4 at UCHS; 77.4, statewide
• Locating Information: 75.0 at UCHS; 76.3, statewide
• Reading for Information: 77.3 at UCHS; 79.0, statewide
ACT WorkKeys has one of the largest, most robust occupational profile databases available. More than 20,000 job titles, ranging from white-collar professional to blue-collar technical positions, have been profiled by ACT-authorized job profilers. Extensive research has been done on these jobs to identify the essential skills and skill levels for employee selection, hiring, and training.