American College Testing Work Keys assessments and individual variables of one-year technical completers in a selected community college in Mississippi

Harold Dean Belton

Abstract

The world of business and industry continues to change at a most astounding rate with the use of the latest technological systems and the increase in global competition. This rapid change continues to present educational institutions with the challenge of keeping up with the ever-changing demands of business and industry and better preparing students for the workplace. In 1994, findings from the SCANS report were used across the country in both educational and business/industry areas for evaluating and improving workplace training needs (Secretary's, 1994). The purpose of this study was to determine a difference in 362 one-year, vocational completers and 308 two-year, technical completers. Additionally, the focus was to investigate the relationship with regard to gender, age, hours worked per week, request for employment information, campus/center and specific vocational/technical program. This study used the American College Testing (ACT) Work Keys assessments of Reading for Information, Applied Mathematics and Locating Information to identify skill levels of community college students. Results were from the eight testing periods from the Spring 1997 through the Fall 1998 testing window which include all completers who were tested at one of the five campuses/centers of a select community college in Mississippi. This inquiry was also to determine if there was a relationship among individual ACT Work Keys assessment results of Reading for Information, Locating Information, and Applied Mathematics and individual variables of age, gender, hours worked per week, and request for employment information. In addition, it determined the relationship among the individual ACT Work Keys assessment results of Reading for Information, Locating Information, and Applied Mathematics and the institutional variables of campus/center and specific vocational/technical program. The investigation was based upon the testing of hypotheses related to results of the ACT Work Keys assessments. Findings include that two-year technical completers, performed at higher levels on the assessments of Reading for Information, Locating Information, and Applied Mathematics than did one-year vocational completers. In addition, conclusions are that females performed at lower levels on certain assessments and that programs and campuses/centers made a difference in student performance levels.