What is the WorkKeys Assessment

It is a national system developed by ACT in order to document and improve workplace skills. This comprehensive system helps individuals, businesses, educators, and policymakers make informed decisions to improve the overall quality of America’s workforce. WorkKeys measures skills that employers believe are critical to job success.

Businesses use the assessments to measure the skills of current and prospective employees and to compare their scores to job profile requirements when making hiring, promotion, and training decisions. Students can use their test results to gain an advantage with the growing number of employers who accept or require WorkKeys scores.

What are the benefits for students

The WorkKeys assessment will allow you to:

· Understand employers’ requirements for job performance;

· Develop specific skills needed by local employers;

· Rank above other job applicants who have not demonstrated needed skills;

· Take advantage of better skills to get better entry-level salaries;

· Use WorkKeys reports as concrete proof of skills achieved.

What assessments are required

Wallace State requires that all technical students score at least a 3 on each of the Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information assessments prior to graduation.

How are the assessments scored

The scores for the WorkKeys assessment range from <3 to 7 on the Applied Math and Reading for Information Assessments. The Locating Information assessment ranges from <3 to 6. A score of <3 on any of the assessments will not satisfy completion requirements for WKO/RTW.

How can I prepare for the WorkKeys Assessment?

You can take a practice online test for WorkKeys. Please email for more information.

What can I expect on the WorkKeys Assessment?

The following pages will provide you with information on the characteristics of each item contained in the WorkKeys Assessment and the skill requirements for each level of competency.

Applied Mathematics

Computer or Paper and Pencil/ Multiple Choice Response                           33 Items

55 Minutes (Computer)


Characteristic of items



·  Translate easily from a word problem to a math equation

·  All needed information is presented in logical order

· Solve problems that require a single type of mathematics operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) using whole numbers

· Add or subtract negative numbers

· Change numbers from one form to another using whole numbers, fractions, decimals, or percentages

· Convert simple money and time units (e.g., hours to minutes)


· Information may be presented out of order

· May include extra, unnecessary information

· May include simple charts, diagrams, or graphs

· Solve problems that require one or two operations

· Multiply Negative Numbers

· Calculate averages, simple rations, simple proportions, or rates using whole numbers and decimals

· Add commonly known fractions, decimals, or percentages (.75, 25%)

· Add three fractions that share a common denominator

· Multiply a mixed number by a whole number or decimal

· Put the information in the right order before performing calculations


· Problems require several steps of logic and calculation( e.g., problem may involve completing an order form by totaling the order and then computing tax)

· Decide what information, calculations, or unit conversions to use to solve the problem

· Look up a formula and perform single-step conversions within or between systems of measurement

· Calculate using mixed units (e.g., 3.5 hours and 4 hours 30 minutes)

· Divide negative numbers

· Find the best deal using one and two-step calculations and then comparing results

· Calculate perimeters and areas of basic shapes (rectangles and circles)

· Calculate percentage discounts or markups


· May require considerable translation from verbal form to mathematical expression

· Generally require considerable setup and involve multiple step calculations

· Use fractions, negative numbers, ratios, percentages, or mixed numbers

· Rearrange a formula before solving a problem

· Use two formulas to change from one unit to another within the same system of measurement

· Use two formulas to change from one unit in one system of measurement to a unit in another system of measurement

· Find mistakes in items that belong at Levels 3, 4, and 5

· Find the best deal and use the result for another calculation

· Find areas of basic shapes when it may be necessary to rearrange the formula, convert units of measurement in the calculations, or use the result in further calculations

· Find the volume of rectangular solids

· Calculate multiple rates


· Content or format may be unusual

· Information may be incomplete or implicit

· Problems often involve multiple steps of logic and calculations

· Solve problems that include nonlinear functions and/or that involve more than one unknown

· Find mistakes in Level 6 items

· Convert between systems of measurement that involve fractions, mixed numbers, decimals, and/or percentages

· Calculate Multiple areas and volumes of spheres, cylinders, or cones

· Set up and manipulate complex ratios or proportions

· Find the best deal when there are several choices

· Apply basic statistical concepts


Reading for Information

Computer or Paper and Pencil/ Multiple Choice Response                           33 Items

55 Minutes (Computer)


Characteristic of items



·  Reading materials include Basic company policies, procedures, and announcements

· Reading materials are short and simple, with no extra information

· Reading materials tell readers what they should do

· All needed information is stated clearly and directly

· Items focus on the main points of the passages

· Wording of the questions and answers is similar or identical to the wording used in the reading materials

· Identify main ideas and clearly stated details

· Choose the correct meaning of a word that is clearly defined in the reading

· Choose the correct meaning of common, everyday and workplace words

· Choose when to perform each step in a short series of steps

· Apply instructions to a situation that is the same as the one in the reading materials


· Reading materials include company policies, procedures, and notices

· Reading materials are straightforward, but have longer sentences and contain a number of details

· Reading materials use common words, but do have some harder words as well

· Reading materials describe procedures that include several steps

· When following the procedures, individuals must think about changing conditions that affect what they should do

· Questions and answers are often paraphrased from the passage

·  Identify important details that may not be clearly stated

· Use the reading material to figure out the meaning of words that are not defined

· Apply instructions with several steps to a situation that is the same as the situation in the reading materials

· Choose what to do when changing conditions call for a different action ( follow directions that include “if-then” statements)


· Policies, procedures, and announcements include all of the information needed to finish a task

· Information is stated clearly and directly, but the materials have many details

· Materials also include jargon, technical terms, acronyms, or words that have several meanings

· Application of information given in the passage to a situation that is not specifically described in the passage

· There are several considerations to be taken into account in order to choose the correct actions

· Figure out the correct meaning of a word based on how the word is used

· Identify the correct meaning of an acronym that is defined in the document

· Identify the paraphrased definition of a technical term or jargon that is defined in the document

· Apply technical terms and jargon and relate them to stated situations

· Apply straightforward instructions to a new situation that is similar to the one described in the material

· Apply complex instructions that include conditions to situations described in the materials


· Reading materials include elaborate procedures, complicated information, and legal regulations found in all kinds of workplace documents

· Complicated sentences with difficult words, jargon, and technical terms

· Most of the information needed to answer the items is not clearly stated

· Identify implied details

· Use technical terms and jargon in new situations

· Figure out the less common meaning of a word based on the context

· Apply complicated instructions to new situations

· Figure out the principles behind policies, rules, and procedure

· Apply general principles from the materials to similar and new situations

· Explain the rationale behind a procedure, policy, or communication


·  Very complex reading materials

· Information includes a lot of details

· Complicated concepts

· Difficult vocabulary

· Unusual jargon and technical terms are used, but not defined

· Writing often lacks clarity and direction

· Readers must draw conclusions from some parts of the reading and apply them to other parts

· Figure out the definitions of difficult, uncommon words based on how they are used

· Figure out the meaning of jargon or technical terms based on how they are used

· Figure out the general principles behind the policies and apply them to situations that are quite different from any described in the materials


Locating Information

Computer or Paper and Pencil/ Multiple Choice Response                           38 Items

55 Minutes (Computer)


Characteristic of items



· Elementary workplace graphics such as simple order forms, bar graphs, tables flowcharts, maps, instrument gauges, or floor plans

· One graphic used at a time

· Find one or two pieces of information in a graphic

· Fill in one or two pieces of information that missing from a graphic


· Straightforward Workplace graphics such a basic order forms, diagrams, line graphs, tables, flowcharts, instrument gauges, or maps

· One or more graphics are used at a time

· Find several pieces of information in one or more graphics

· Understand how graphics are related to each other

· Summarize information from one or more straightforward graphics

· Identify trends shown in one or more straightforward graphics

· Compare information and trends shown in one or more straightforward graphics


· Complicated workplace graphics, such as detailed forms, tables, graphs, diagrams. Maps, or instrument gauges

· Graphics may have less common formats

· One or more graphics are used at a time

· Sort through distracting information

· Summarize information from one or more detailed graphics

· Identify trends shown in one or more detailed or complicated graphics

· Compare information and trends from one or more complicated graphics.


· Very complicated and detailed graphs, charts, tables, forms, maps, and diagrams

· Graphics contain large amounts of information and may have challenging formats

· One or more graphics are used at a time

· Connections between graphics may be subtle 

· Draw conclusions based on one complicated graphic or several related graphics

· Apply information from one or more complicated graphics to specific situations

· Use the information to make decisions


To register for the test or for more information contact Jamie Blackmon 256.352.8461 or