Credentialing Students into Career Pathways

Case Studies - Develop & Deliver: Item and Test Development


    • Russ Keglovits, MS. Ed. Assessment Specialist
    • Deborah Schnipke, Ph.D., Senior Psychometrician
    • Andrew Wiley, Ph.D., Partner


A consulting company that is focused on partnering with organizations to plan, design and execute large-scale, high-consequence initiatives and learning initiatives.

A consortia representing high schools, community colleges, four-year institutions, and local industry focusing on training and identifying candidates who demonstrate work ready knowledge and skills in areas such as agricultural mechanics, horticulture, and floriculture.


Between 2018 and 2022, ACS partnered with Client and led activities to help build, develop, and deliver assessments. This included a series of workshops where educators designed a series of certification examinations focused on agricultural studies with students in middle and high school. These assessments were designed to measure a baseline level of knowledge in science or mechanics, along with identification of appropriate tools, as well as safety protocols. Performance tasks were also developed to measure these same skills but within a real-world setting where students were required to complete tasks such as designing a floral arrangement, completing steps for laboratory testing of soil, or fixing specific agricultural tools.

Initial workshops were focused on training educators on the methods and best practices in the development of test items and performance tasks. Later workshops were focused on identifying cut scores for the developed exams to allow for the identification of students that could be considered as work ready for employers within the region. These workshops included a review of the test items, discussion of expected performance, and a review of actual candidate performance on the exams.


The partnership between  ACS and the consortium created a team of experts that each brought unique knowledge and skills to the project. The consortia represented a unique combination of educators and employers that were formed to serve rural students that are frequently an underserved population in K12 education.


Using trainings ACS conducted, the consortium completed the development of more than ten certification exams. Client created a series of tiered credentials where students demonstrate their competency for community college programs as well as potential employers.