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NAF Introduces Student Certification Assessment System for Career Readiness

The National Academy Foundation (NAF), a network of over 500 career academies and 60,000 students, introduced this week a new Student Certification Assessment System to compliment the Common Core State Standards as a measure of career readiness.

The assessments, developed in collaboration with research agency WestEd, are designed to test a broad range of technical content and skills and result in a nationally-recognized, industry-approved certificate. The resulting certificate would also serve as a tool to help employers and postsecondary admissions personnel identify and recruit career-ready students.

The certificate assessment system components test students in a variety of ways including:

  • Project-based learning: Students complete four culminating project assessments to demonstrate broad and specific competencies in technical content and skills.
  • End-of-course examinations: Students complete four end-of-course online exams including both selected and constructed test questions “to assess the breadth and depth of career and technical knowledge and skills across industry-authenticated course units.”
  • Internships: Supervisors assess students’ work-based learning experiences based on their proficiency in applying Career Technical Education (CTE) knowledge and skills.

Already piloted in several career academies, the Student Certification Assessment System will be implemented in about one-third of NAF career academies nationwide beginning this fall.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

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