ACT Launches Paraprofessional Assessment System

ACT has announced the creation of an assessment system to help schools meet a key requirement of the No Child Left Behind Act. The "WorkKeys Proficiency Certificate for Teacher Assistants" enables Title I-funded paraprofessionals to demonstrate knowledge of reading, writing, mathematics and pedagogical skills. The system is being adapted from assessments already widely used to assess paraprofessionals by school districts in five states: Colorado, Montana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Oregon. It is based on ACT’s WorkKeys job skills assessments, which are used by thousands of schools, businesses and organizations in hiring, assessing and training a qualified workforce.

The ACT system combines testing, training and on-the-job observation and evaluation of paraprofessionals. Three WorkKeys skills assessments are included — "Applied Mathematics," "Writing" and "Reading for Information" — along with an observational checklist to be filled out by a knowledgeable observer, taking note of the classroom teaching skills demonstrated by the paraprofessional. Once content skills are assessed, training is available to help participants improve them, if necessary. Online and computerized instruction can be arranged through ACT Centers, located primarily at colleges nationwide. Training programs include courses from companies such as KeyTrain and Worldwide Interactive Network. Training is also available through WorkKeys value-added resellers, one-stop career centers and similar agencies.

For more information about "WorkKeys Proficiency Certificate for Teacher Assistants" program, visit www.act.org/workkeys/profcert or call (800) WORKKEY.

This article originally appeared in the 02/01/2003 issue of THE Journal.

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