We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The idea is that employers can decide which certificate level they would like to see in the hands of applicants in order to match them to the job at hand. (They can also check with ACT to verify that a certificate is genuine.) The NCRC test avoids such high-school stumbling-blocks as algebra, geometry, grammar, and advanced vocabulary—the stuff of the SAT and the regular ACT test. Instead the NCRC test, designed to focus on real-world in contrast to academic aptitude, contains just three WorkKeys: "Applied Mathematics," "Reading for Information," and "Locating Information." Still, while the skills assessed in the three WorkKeys are fairly basic, (Applied Mathematics requires no more than eighth-grade math), to perform well enough to earn a Platinum-level certificate would probably challenge many college graduates.
I tried out the most difficult of the sample NCRC questions on ACT's website and found myself delving deep into memory for the formula for calculating the volume of a cylinder (Applied Mathematics), attempting to correlate two complex soil-sample graphs (Locating Information), and poring over a legal document (Reading for Information). Critical thinking and the ability to use abstract data to solve concrete problems are clearly among the skills assessed. ACT has also developed a list of additional WorkKey assessments that employers in search of specific talents such as business writing or applying technology, or "soft" interpersonal skills such as listening, conflict resolution, or working in a team, can use to fit applicants to the specific demands of a job.