The Applied Technology Assessment is one of 10 assessments offered by WorkKeys. The others are Reading for Information, Applied Mathematics, Business Writing, Writing, Locating Information, Teamwork, Observation, Listening, and Readiness. Although the assessments can be given individually, they were originally designed to be part of a larger ACT job-skills program. The program includes a component to help employers identify the skills necessary for specific jobs and a training element to close skill gaps revealed by the assessment. Test items are grouped into four difficulty levels, 3–6, based on the number and complexity of the skills required to answer each item correctly. A Level 3 item, for instance, describes a simple system with three to five components, portrays a problem with one variable, and includes all the information necessary to solve it. A Level 6 item describes a complex system with 10 or more components, presents a variety of possible problem sources, and includes considerable extraneous information. Assessment results can be presented as a level score, which ACT says should be used for employee selection, promotion, or other high-stakes purposes, or a scale score, which can show individual improvement over time, provide for group comparisons, or show a likelihood of benefit from educational opportunity. ACT charges $4 per test for educational and government institutions that use the assessment with their own students. The rate is higher for businesses.

Sample Items10

Level 3

You are building a greenhouse like the one shown in Figure 1 for a local nursery. The owners specified that the greenhouse should have automatic vents, controlled by a thermostat, which will open when the temperature in the greenhouse gets too high for the plants. Figure 2 shows the floor plan of the greenhouse.


These sample items appear on the WorkKeys website at and are reprinted with permission.

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