WorkKeys Testing

This training is for those pursuing a career as an educational assistant (EA) or those currently employed EAs who are moving from general duties to working with special needs students. The program involves a three-step process: KeyTrain, WorkKeys Academic Assessment and Pedagogy Assessment. Scheduled trainings are listed on our Events page.

The WorkKeys program is designed to assist EAs in fulfilling the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (which was reauthorized in 2002 as the No Child Left Behind Act and in 2015 as the Every Student Succeeds Act). This law, backed by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) in OAR 581-037-0006, directs EAs to demonstrate their highly qualified status if they are working in Title I schools and with special needs students. Highly qualified is defined as meeting one of the following:

  1. Completion of at least two years of postsecondary study; or
  2. Having or obtaining an associate degree or higher; or
  3. Meeting a rigorous standard of quality and demonstrating, through a formal state or local academic assessment, knowledge of and the ability to assist in instructing reading, writing and mathematics.

It is the goal of your union to provide the information and assistance needed for each EA to satisfy their educational requirements. After surveying 4,000 EAs, it was determined the skills, knowledge and abilities necessary to perform the duties of an EA in Title I schools are similar to those in the ACT job profile for Teachers Aide I and II. ACT considers an average of 4 as the standard cut score for work skills and knowledge in math and reading and an average of 3 as the standard cut score in writing. The academic standard of these averages is considered reasonable and obtainable for EAs working in these programs. To accomplish this goal, OSEA provides an academic refresher program called KeyTrain that helps to prepare for the WorkKeys academic tests.

About KeyTrain

KeyTrain is a nationally recognized instruction program. This OSEA-sponsored academic refresher is designed to help participants brush up on their skills and reinforce their knowledge in the subject areas of math, reading and writing.

The training is interactive and self-paced. It is available in a workbook format and helps prepare for the WorkKeys academic tests. KeyTrain curriculum includes instruction and practice in the basic skills of reading, writing and math as well as pre- and post-tests in these subject areas. KeyTrain has five instructional levels within each subject area, which allow participants to refresh and improve their skills and knowledge.

Get Started with KeyTrain

OSEA is offering KeyTrain statewide to school districts and those individuals preparing a career as an educational assistant. Scheduled trainings are listed on our Events page. Registration is available by calling the OSEA State Office at 800-252-6732. Please allow seven business days for processing and shipping materials.

Workbook Cost: The workbook is $85 and contains five levels of training in each of the three topics: math, reading and writing. Workbooks are copyright protected and should not be copied or shared. OSEA purchased a license to be able to offer these materials at this cost. Copying or sharing outside this license is a violation of copyright law. Individuals should include payment with their request. Checks should be made payable to OSEA; credit card payments can be made at the time of order. Materials will be mailed upon receipt of payment.

How the Program Works

Participants work at their own pace. Workbooks are for participants to keep. Participants may go through the program as many times as necessary. Supplemental tutoring services will be made available through OSEA for any district requesting these services with at least five participants. Tutor support is generally scheduled in three-hour sessions.


Reading for Information (5 levels)
This is the skill of reading and understanding common workplace documents. Training includes letters, manual, procedures and memos. KeyTrain examines the essential aspects of understanding and applying information given in practical situations based on realistic work experiences.

Applied Mathematics (5 levels)
Applied mathematics is the skill of applying mathematical reasoning and problem-solving techniques. The program begins with a practice and review of the basic concepts of mathematical operations including money, time, measurements, proportions and ratios, fractions and decimals, negative numbers and percentages. Each level is progressively more complex than the last adding more steps to resolve the problem.

Writing (5 levels)
The writing segment is a review of sentence structure, spelling and punctuation. In addition, elements such as organized information, vocabulary and proofreading will be covered. Participants demonstrate their ability to compose a grammatically correct written message from the information given on a recorded tape on the WorkKeys test.

WorkKeys Academic Assessments

OSEA will provide an opportunity for participants to take ACT’s WorkKeys assessment at OSEA-sponsored education/training events. Other assessment opportunities may be provided upon request. Academic testing is scheduled in four-hour blocks to accommodate all three subject areas, although it is not required to take all three at the same time. Those who have registered and paid for the KeyTrain workbook will only be charged the base fee of $65 for all three WorkKeys assessments. Anyone challenging the WorkKeys Assessments (chose not to prepare with the KeyTrain program) will be charged $80. Tutoring services are not available for those challenging the assessments.

The WorkKeys Pedagogy — Instructional Techniques Demonstration/Evaluation

The pedagogy is a checklist of demonstrated skills, knowledge and abilities. An evaluator observes the educational assistant in the performance of their duties of instruction and scores using a rating scale of 1 to 5 during the demonstration of skills to instruct students as assigned. The pedagogy packet cost is $45, which includes the WorkKeys Proficiency Certificate to Teachers Assistants. OSEA was instrumental in the development of this pedagogy assessment. Educational assistants from around Oregon were asked to help design and validate this assessment to be offered nationally by ACT WorkKeys assessments.

WorkKeys Proficiency Certificate for Teachers Assistants

A WorkKeys Proficiency Certificate will be sent to the participant upon their successful completion of the academic tests (cut scores of at least 4 in math and reading and at least 3 in writing) and the pedagogy. The participant will need to provide a copy of the certificate to their district.

Districts can refer potential new hires needing to take the tests to OSEA at 800-252-6732.

Success Rate

Since 2001, OSEA has maintained a 98 percent passage rate on the academic assessments and 100 percent passage rate on the pedagogy across the state of Oregon. We continue to deliver more WorkKeys Proficiency Certificates for Teachers Assistants each day.

For more information about the KeyTrain preparation and WorkKeys testing,  contact the OSEA State Office at 800-252-6732 or email Linda Hallman at


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