In a rapidly changing economy, students with in-demand, transportable skills – including problem solving, critical and creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and ethical reasoning – are most likely to thrive throughout their education and careers. Ideally, high school STEM programs provide methods by which students gain proficiency in these skills. Until now, however, high school tests have not sufficiently provided employers or institutions of higher education information necessary to confirm graduates’ competencies in these areas.
The MPCS high school participates in the Project Lead the Way® (PLTW) Engineering Program. In the Spring of 2019, PLTW offered a first-of-its-kind, summative end-of-course (EoC) assessment that measured both subject-matter knowledge and mastery of in-demand, transportable skills. A coalition of more than 400 secondary educators, higher education representatives, and industry experts provided insightful validation into this new assessment. The results of the new EoC assessment for Introduction to Engineering Design are in. Of the MPCS students taking the test, 91 percent scored at the "Accomplished" or "Distinguished" level, a representation of their proficiency with the engineering design subject matter and transportable skills.
The new EoC Assessment innovatively measures a broad range of knowledge, skills, and cognitive abilities. It was fashioned to assess students through a dynamic experience that resembles the hands-on learning context of the PLTW classroom. Students who take the assessments receive detailed score reports that include a scale score ranging from 100 to 600, a corresponding Achievement Level Descriptor – either Novice, Practiced, Accomplished, or Distinguished – and a level of student knowledge within specific skill clusters, including transportable skills, assessed on a scale of one to six.
Students can use their test results to bolster college applications or resumes or can send their score report directly to higher education institutions and employers, who may use it for admissions, scholarships, dual credit opportunities, campus experiences, internships, apprenticeships, and industry certifications. Students may also bundle their PLTW test results with AP Course test results for AP+PLTW recognition.
We are proud of this confirmation of the competency of student work within the MPCS STEM program. It is evidence of the proficiency in engineering design and the transportable skills they have obtained, and we look forward to see how students utilize these skills going forward.