Answering your questions: Skill Connect Assessments
- How can Skill Connect Assessments be used?
- Who are Skill Connect Assessments designed for?
- Where do the industry standards come from?
- I heard these assessments are just based on the contests. How can they really be reliable?
- How are you ensuring that the Skill Connect Assessments are educationally sound?
- What technical areas are served by Skill Connect Assessments?
- How do Skill Connect Assessments address varying learning styles?
- What competencies does each assessment address?
- How do soft skills fit into the Work Force Ready System?
- How can an online testing system replicate a hands-on assessment?
- How frequently will Skill Connect Assessments be updated?
- What is LearnMate, and how does it fit into the System?
- What makes the Skill Connect Assessments different from other available assessments?
- What will Skill Connect Assessments cost?
- Should a student fail the first time, is retesting an option? What is the passing score?
- Could businesses sponsor testing for needy schools?
- Can instructors view the assessments prior to purchasing them for students?
- What is the baseline for passing the assessments? Does it vary by assessment?
- What if I'm already using an industry credentialing program?
- How would I explain the value of the Skill Connect Assessment to my administrator who will only fund assessments that lead to a certification?
- Do Skill Connect Assessments meet Perkins IV funding qualification for technical attainment accountability?
- What are the computer requirements to support Skill Connect Assessments?
- Do all of my students have to take the assessments at the same time?
- How do I become a proctor?
- How do I get assistance when something isn't working?
- Is there a practical/hands-on test available?
- Do you provide a pre (beginning course/year) & post (end of course/year) test?
Skill Connect Assessments can be used in many ways. Assessments frequently are used in schools for pre-testing and end-of-year testing.
Skill Connect Assessments help candidates prove their technical skills and knowledge to potential employers. They also help local instructors and programs demonstrate the value of their programs, while supporting local industries with a pool of potential employees that have been tested by a system they can trust. They may be used to identify individual educational needs as pre-assessments or to identify proficiency levels at the completion of a program of study.
Skill Connect Assessments are designed for career and technical education programs at the secondary and post-secondary levels, in addition to entities conducting workforce development and training efforts to meet assessment and development needs for technical and employability skill attainment.
Industry standards are developed by SkillsUSA national competition technical committees. These committees represent diverse, leading organizations that serve their respective industries. Subject matter experts lead technical committees that include industry standards developed by businesses, trade and professional associations and certifying agencies.
The technical committees have been intimately involved in the identification of standards and comptencies and the development of questions to appropriately measure technical skills and knowledge.
The SkillsUSA Championships: Technical Standards were used as a starting point for the assessments; however,Skill Connect Assessments align with the industry standards and competencies as defined by industry. Industry subject matter experts have helped guide the process, and the standards and competencies have been tested with programs nationwide to assure their reliability. We have worked to map the assessment standards to math and science standards (STEM) that can demonstrate classroom-learning achievement.
All Skill Connect Assessments undergo a strict field-testing process, managed by a team of psychometricians from Old Dominion University's Occupational and Technical Studies Department.
- Validation of the Technical Standard
- Construction of the Assessment Matrix
- Validation of the Assessment Matrix
- Assessment Item Development
- Validation of Assessment Items
- Field Testing (Pilot)
- Analysis of Field Test Results
The SkillsUSA team has worked with education experts and industry SMEs throughout the development process. Industry-based SMEs are validating competencies, and SkillsUSA is consulting with a psychometrician who will guide item validation and assessment field-testing efforts. The process will comply with the Standards for Educational & Psychological Testing published by the American Psychological Association and the National Council of Measurement in Education (1999).
SkillsUSA offers over 40 technical and one employability & customer service assessment. For a complete up-to-date list of available assessments visit: www.workforcereadysystem.org/technical_areas.shtml
Each Skill Connect Assessment includes approximately 50 items in a variety of question types. The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and the premier capabilities of the LearnMate program allow for a variety of question types, ensuring that assessments appeal to auditory, visual and kinesthetic learners.
The competencies addressed in each assessment are available through a corresponding blueprint. You can access the blueprints for the assessments that are available for purchase by clicking on the name of the assessment on our website: www.workforcereadysystem.org/technical_areas.shtml.
Industry leaders who developed the technical assessments indicated that employability skills are important, so some employability questions will appear in our technical assessments. Furthermore, one Skill Connect Assessment is solely devoted to testing employability skills.
The assessment questions will test students not only on theoretical knowledge, but also on practical know-how. The goal is to develop assessments in which a student who could not perform the task with his own two hands could not achieve a passing score. SkillsUSA maximizes the use of media to allow us to more closely replicate real-world situations, coming much closer to assessing actual skill than a text-only, paper-based assessment.
Skill Connect Assessments will be reviewed periodically, and updated based on recommendations from the subject matter experts on the SkillsUSA Championships technical committees and feedback from instructors provided through the Work Force Ready System.
LearnMate is a proven, state-of-the-art assessment tool packaged with a robust management system. Developed by intelitek, it is easy-to-use and allows real-time assessment and reporting capability, allowing for immediate grading and feedback – for students, instructors and administrators.
The variety of question types (drag-and-drop, simulations, etc.) possible on the LearnMate system ensure assessments that are accurate for all types of learners. Content and assessments are created and delivered online, allowing access from anywhere, and LearnMate allows mapping and tracking of competency/skills. Certificates can also be easily generated upon successful completion.
For a demonstration of how the assessments work visit us online at www.workforcereadysystem.org and click on the link “Demo Our Skill Connect Assessments.”
Interactive – The use of animations and interactivity, the variety of question types and the use of learning principles will allow the Skill Connect Assessments to assess a broader range of competencies and to assess them more fully than text-only multiple choice items typically found in end-of-program skill-based assessments.
Industry-driven – Assessments developed by industry experts evaluate standards and criterion on an annual basis, ensuring the assessments are relevant to current industry needs.
Responsive – The system provides instant results to candidates, allowing students and instructors to target areas of improvement.
Diverse – Skill Connect Assessments will be available in over 40 unique technical areas and evaluate technical, academic and employability competenciesAffordable – Because SkillsUSA is committed to serving career and technical education, assessments were designed with your budgets in mind.
The Skill Connect Assessments were designed to be affordable. A discount is extended to SkillsUSA members; however, anyone may take an assessment. Students may certainly test in multiple areas. Students may sign up for SkillsUSA membership at any time during the year to take advantage of te discounted pricing. For our pricing options, visit: http://www.workforcereadysystem.org/pricing.shtml
Yes, a student may choose to retake any assessment. Every test will be unique, drawing from a robust bank of test questions. The system not only outlines the competencies tested, but how a student performs on each competency. The price of a retest is the same as the original assessment.
A cut-score was set by industry technical committees as the passing score for each individual assessment. A list of the cut-scores can be found at: http://www.workforcereadysystem.org/cutscores.shtml. Students making the cut-score or above will receive an automated certificate displaying the logo’s of industry technical committees.
Absolutely. In fact, Skill Connect Assessments were created through a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation called Champions for Change. The other part of that grant is to seed SkillsUSA chapters in vulnerable communities and needy schools. These programs will often serve as pilot sites for the assessments.
Yes, we are offer a 10 question demonstration of each assessment with examples of the various type of questions at no charge. You may take the demo at: http://www.workforcereadysystem.org/demo.shtml
The baseline for passing assessments is determined by the technical committee of industry representatives for each assessment area. Each assessment may have a different baseline for passing, as determined by the respective industry representatives.
Our Skill Connect Assessments serve as an onramp for these programs, such as CompTIA and AWS. Just think of if like the PSAT, preparing you for what's ahead as a authentic guage of your strengths and areas improvement.
Candidates receiving the cut score or higher of any Skill Connect Assessment will receive a certificate of completion. This certificate will identify the competencies tested. It is not, however, intended to override or serve as an equivalent to industry certifications available today.
20. How would I explain the value of the Skill Connect Assessment to my administrator who will only fund assessments that lead to a certification?
Many (at least 1/3) of technical areas served by these assessments do not have any existing certification in place. As accountability becomes more important, especially due to Perkins legislation, a reliable measure of technical attainment is valuable for your students and your program.
21. Do Skill Connect Assessments meet Perkins IV funding qualification for technical attainment accountability?
SkillsUSA has received significant anecdotal feedback from administrators, state and national leaders that the Skill Connect Assessment will meet Perkins IV funding qualification.
The interactive questions containing videos and graphics run smoothly when the minimum hardware and software requirements are met. See the requirements posted at: www.workforcereadysystem.org/media/SoftHardReq.pdf.
No, as long as proctoring is provided at all times.
No registration is required. The proctor may be a school instructor or administrative staff member or current or retired faculty member. Students may not be proctors. SkillsUSA recommends that you do not use an instructor who teaches the same area of study as the assessment to proctor the test.
SkillsUSA will provide an on-line troubleshooting guide. You will also be provided with contact information for technical assistance.
Currently we do not offer a practical/hands on test.
Yes, a separate test would need to be purchased for each pre & post-test. Each assessment course offers different forms of the test with different questions in each competency area. We recommend alternating the forms between pre & post-testing for security of the test items and to reduce the potential for cheating.
Still have questions? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.