Can you help Save Teens from Lame Jobs?

How do you encourage high school students to take the ACT WorkKeys® assessment seriously? The marketing team at The Orchard Foundation decided that a hero could best capture the attention of busy and distracted high school students. The Jobinator, a caped superhero who, “By day, saves teenagers from lame jobs. By night, predicts the future, namely which jobs will be the hottest,” soon came to the rescue.

To date, this initiative has helped Central Louisiana residents earn over 18,474 National Career Readiness Certificates™. The Orchard Foundation also provides ACT Career Ready 101® courses to prepare students to take the ACT WorkKeys assessments and is presently working to implement the ACT Work Ready Communities initiative in nine parishes in central Louisiana. Learn more here.

FREE Webinar to Help ALL Students and Educators realize the value of WorkKeys and the NCRC


This webinar shares practical strategies for helping deepen students, parents, and educators realize the real value and potential of WorkKeys and the National Career Readiness Certificate. The session includes information on student and educator resources to prepare for the WorkKeys assessments, soft skills enhancement, and re-taking the WorkKeys assessments to earn or upgrade a student’s NCRC. Additionally, information on South Carolina’s, best in the nation, Work Ready Communities Initiative is included:



Is it time we stop ‘averaging’ grades?

This post is from the “Life of an Educator” blog:

“What message are we sending to students when we average grades over a quarter or a semester?
This is definitely a hot topic question for those who are involved in work around grading and assessment.
What about the statement below?

‘When we average grades over time, we are basically saying that our teaching doesn’t have any impact on student learning.’ via @leeannjung

That’s a pretty powerful and bold statement!
Also, consider this image of seven students and their performance over a period of time:
Do we really feel each student is at the same place in regard to their learning?
Do we really feel each student is receiving a grade that most accurately reflects their current level of mastery?
image via @tguskey
Next, consider the football team in preparation for the game on Friday night (thanks for this great example @mctownsley…)
Team A: Works extremely hard all week at practice and has done everything possible to prepare for the game on Friday night.
Team B: Takes it easy at practice all week and really didn’t put forth a lot of commitment to prepare for the game on Friday night.
The reality is that both teams will start the game on Friday night with zero points. The team that worked hard doesn’t get an advantage from the start and the team that didn’t work hard doesn’t start off with a disadvantage. Grades are about what kids know at that given point in time… same thing as on the football field.
Last thought… do we really want the initial learning students do in the beginning (when the skills and/or content are brand new) to affect a student’s grade later on down the road? Should students be able to escape the mistakes and roadblocks they faced in the beginning or should these mistakes haunt them the entire grading period?
So, is it time to stop averaging grades?”
Have a great week!

Fun with testing???

While some educators have a very negative attitude towards testing, some educators like the teachers at Cedar Grove Elementary School in South Carolina have decided to have some fun with preparing for ACT Aspire.

Could this make a difference on the day of the test?

I have always believed that the attitude of the adults in the building helped to determine the attitude of most (not all) students in terms of:

1) Attitude toward testing
2) Importance of the test – the big “why” are we taking this test; what can it do for me?
3) Overall confidence in facing the assessment

This might be the best test prep video of 2015…

Cedar Grove Funk 2015

Students in South Carolina are “ACT-ing!”

This video is another great example of how educators can have some fun with assessment.

Please check out this video created by middle school teachers Justin Goldsmith and James Hogue at Legacy Charter School in Greenville. These teachers, created a rap video with some friends from Anderson University to pump students up with lyrics like “yeah we ACT-ing and we MAP-ing too. ‘Bout to pass it all ’cause that’s just what them scholars do.” You can see it on YouTube:



Carolina Classrooms: Changes to Student Assessment

In April of 2015, South Carolina is changing the way it tests students in our public school system.  SCETV has recorded the video below with an assessment professional from the State Department of Education along with a school district representative to talk about those changes and what they mean to parents and students. More information about changes to assessment can be found at

A direct link to the video is available at:

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