Project Lead The Way Announces New Assessment to Measure Academic Knowledge and In-Demand Skills

New assessment is the first and only tool to measure high school students’ academic knowledge and in-demand skills that are highly sought-after among employers and colleges

INDIANAPOLIS – Project Lead The Way (PLTW) today announced its new End-of-Course Assessment, the first of its kind to measure high school students’ mastery of the skills most critical for college and career success — including problem solving, critical and creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and ethical reasoning and mindset — in addition to their knowledge of STEM subjects. In the 2018-19 school year, up to 400,000 students will take the assessment.

The PLTW Assessment’s dual focus on in-demand skills and subject-matter knowledge could become a trusted tool that colleges, universities, and employers use to assess candidates — surpassing GPAs, college entrance exams, or high school diplomas as the most valuable measure of students’ readiness for college and careers.

“We have millions of students in schools across the U.S. working to develop transportable, in-demand skills. Until now, they haven’t had a meaningful way to demonstrate to employers or college admissions officers what they can do,” said PLTW President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Vince Bertram. “This assessment is one of many ways we are working to close the skills gap and help students achieve lifelong success on any career path they choose.”

In developing the new assessment, PLTW brought together secondary educators, higher education representatives, and industry experts to identify which skills would have value across all three sectors, and create student currency in the classroom, college, and beyond. Unlike other measures of learning, the PLTW Assessment provides high school students with a tool to demonstrate their skills to colleges, universities, and employers alike. Students can choose to send their results to colleges and employers for consideration in decisions about admissions, scholarships, dual credit opportunities, campus experiences, internships, apprenticeships, industry certifications, and more.

“For industry, this has long-term impact. It’s more about shaping the students who will then become part of industry,” said Satish Subramanian, marketing manager at Dremel DigiLab, Robert Bosch Tool Corporation NA. “So five to 10 years down the road, industry will be way better off with having students who are ready right out of the gate to make an impact.” 

“It’s wonderful, because now industry will be getting what they’ve been screaming out for for years,” said Dean Genge, owner of DGC Education Consultants, Inc., and former consultant to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). “They want students, or employees, who have the skills to take on the jobs they can provide and they need to hire for.”

The assessment format is interactive and engaging for test-takers, using simulations, video stimuli, situational judgment questions, and more to measure students’ abilities to solve real-world problems. This allows students to prove their skills in applied contexts, rather than their ability to repeat information on traditional assessments.

“It also helps get at the grit that is not always measured when it comes to whether a student can be successful in higher ed or not,” said Demetrees Hutchins, Ph.D., management analyst in the Indiana University School of Education at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis. “When you change the items and allow for more open-ended, strategic types of answers, then that gets at the heart of what’s really going on with that student and allows us to say, ‘You really hit at all the points the student needs to be successful, at least the first year of college, when they get in our doors.’”

With the assessment launch, PLTW is expanding upon its efforts to prepare every student for lifelong career success. For decades, the organization has been a leading provider of career learning opportunities for K-12 schools through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, as well as professional development for teachers.

To learn more about PLTW’s new assessment, visit www.pltw.org/our-programs/assessment.

About Project Lead The Way

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for PreK-12* students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. More than 10,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit pltw.org.

*PreK modules will be available in the 2019-20 school year. 

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Media Contact:

Jennifer Erbacher

Project Lead The Way

(317) 669-0871

[email protected]