ETS continues to work toward ensuring that the skills taught in schools match those that employers need to remain competitive in today's global economy.
Building Better Students: Preparation for Life After High School (College and Workforce Readiness Issues)
Despite the increase in educational research and the work being done by dedicated educators, the United States continues to fall behind in educational attainment and competency. If we are to remain a leader in developing a skilled workforce to compete in the global economy, steps must be taken to ensure high school students are prepared to succeed in college, at work and in life. Achieving this objective requires a focused dialogue among the nation's college and workforce readiness researchers, policymakers and educators with the specific goal of finding ways to create an educational system that "builds better students."
In response to this need, the ETS staff planned and held a mini-conference in 2010 — Building Better Students: Preparation for Life After High School. The purpose of this conference was to address college and workforce readiness issues from both policy and research perspectives. ETS invited experts, thought leaders and policy figures from a diverse set of fields to identify and assess key college and workforce readiness skills. At this conference, world-renowned researchers and policymakers candidly discussed how we, as a nation, can best build better students through four key educational areas:
- teachers and the curriculum
- programmatic interventions
- selection and assessment
Each presentation was posted to the Building Better Students conference website and plans for further dissemination include a published book. The planning efforts for this conference and the forthcoming book will allow ETS to approach expanding workforce readiness research from a prepared and knowledgeable perspective.
ETS Assessment Products
Over the past 65 years, ETS has developed a number of assessments that measure cognitive skills, some of which we describe below. In 2009, ETS introduced its first assessment of noncognitive skills.
An innovative, web-based advisor reporting system, the ETS® Personal Potential Index (ETS® PPI), allows evaluators to rate graduate school applicants on six key attributes that graduate deans and faculty have identified as essential for graduate study:
- knowledge and creativity
- communication skills
- planning and organization
- ethics and integrity
In addition, ETS also offers well-established assessments that measure cognitive skills in the workforce.
The TOEIC® tests measure all four English-language skills that are relevant to the global workforce — Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing — with test questions that simulate real-life business situations. Score reports provide accurate, meaningful feedback about a test-taker's strengths and weaknesses, along with a description of the English-language strengths typical of test takers performing at various score levels.
This allows employers to:
- Relate test scores to the tasks employees may perform on the job
- Use the descriptions to inform critical hiring and placement decisions
- Select the employee with the English-language abilities the job requires
Today TOEIC test scores are used by over 10,000 companies, government agencies and English Language Learning programs in 120 countries, and more than six and a half million TOEIC tests were administered in 2012.
The TOEIC Bridge™ test, designed for beginning to intermediate learners, measures English-language listening and reading comprehension skills used in an international environment. Language schools, colleges, universities, corporations and government agencies worldwide use the TOEIC Bridge test to assess English-language proficiency.
The Praxis Series™ tests measure teacher candidates' knowledge and skills. These tests are used for licensing and certification processes and include:
- Praxis I® Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST®) measure basic skills in reading, writing and mathematics. In addition to licensure, these tests are often used to qualify candidates for entry into a teacher education program.
- Praxis II® Subject Assessments measure subject-specific content knowledge, as well as general and subject-specific teaching skills, that you need for beginning teaching.
Each state and licensing organization determines its own certification and Praxis™ passing score requirements.