MS Dept of Education

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SBE Approves ACT WorkKeys as Measure of Career Readiness

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi State Board of Education voted today to open public comment on the addition of the ACT WorkKeys assessment, in conjunction with a recognized career pathway or industry certification, to the accountability measure evaluating how schools and districts prepare students for college and the workforce.

ACT WorkKeys, a national assessment that measures foundational skills required for success in the workplace, will be included in the college and career readiness indicator in the state’s accountability system that assigns letter grades to schools and districts. Previously, student performance at the national benchmarks in math and reading or English on the ACT was the sole indicator of college and career readiness. The additional career preparation measure recognizes students who score at the Silver performance level on ACT WorkKeys and earn an industry certification in a technical field or complete a career pathway in high school.

“We have always said we would periodically evaluate the accountability system for improvements. We believe that by adding WorkKeys with an industry certification or pathway, we better prepare students who want to directly enter the workforce with the skills and knowledge to succeed and to earn a livable wage,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education.

The Accountability Task Force (ATF) began looking at the inclusion of ACT WorkKeys in the accountability system in March 2020. Although it considered many options, the ATF recommended adding ACT Work Keys as an alternative to ACT at the Silver level with no requirement for completion of a career pathway or industry certification.

The Commission on School Accreditation on Dec. 10 approved unanimously a proposal from the Mississippi Department of Education to require a WorkKeys Silver level student performance and completion of an industry certification or pathway to ensure comparable rigor between ACT and ACT WorkKeys in the accountability model. The proposal was based on feedback from the ATF, discussion within the MDE, and in consultation with the Center for Assessment and the MDE’s Technical Advisory Committee.

Details of the proposed change to the accountability model can be found on the SBE Agenda. The public comment period will close at 5 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 14 and will be submitted to the SBE on Thursday, Jan. 21.

Comments should be submitted to Alan Burrow at is an online news site covering Simpson and surrounding counties as well as the State of Mississippi.

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Patrice is married to Greg Boykin and they have two sons, Bradley & Alex Boykin. Patrice is a lifetime resident of Simpson County. Patrice retired after 25 years in the Insurance industry where 23 of those years were with State Farm Insurance in Magee. She is very active in the community and has served in several leadership roles. Patrice has been a Secretary for the Magee Touchdown Club for 19 years and President of the MS Scholars of Simpson County. Patrice was a member of the Magee Adopt A School Program. She was elected to a term on the Simpson County School Board. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Magee Chamber of Commerce. She serves on the Keep Magee Beautiful Committee and is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Simpson County Technical Center. Patrice is a member of the Simpson County Republican Executive Committee. Multiple times, Patrice was named Parent of the Year for Magee Schools as well as District Parent of the Year for the Simpson County School District. Patrice & her family are members of New Hope Baptist Church.


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