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The WorkKeys program was developed to assist educational assistants (EAs) in fulfilling the requirements outlined in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The program involves a three-step process: KeyTrain, WorkKeys Academic Assessment and Pedagogy Assessment.

ESEA/NCLB Requirements (I.D.E.A.)

Educational Assistants working in Title I and Special Needs schools and programs will have to satisfy the academic requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) or the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) to be “highly qualified” by June 30, 2006. “Highly qualified” is defined as meeting one of the following:

  1.  Completion of at least two years of post-secondary study; or
  2.  Obtaining an associate’s or higher degree; 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 the NCLB educational requirements.  After surveying 4,000 EAs, it was determined that the skills, knowledge, and abilities necessary to perform the duties of an Educational Assistant in Title I and Special Needs programs are similar to those in the ACT job profile for Teachers Aide I and II.  ACT considers an average of 4 as the standard score for work skills and knowledge in both math and reading, and an average of 3 in writing.  The academic standard of these averages is considered reasonable and obtainable for EAs working in these programs.  To accomplish this goal, OSEA will be providing members with an academic refresher program called KeyTrain, along with the ACT WorkKeys Assessment.

About KeyTrain

KeyTrain is a nationally recognized instructional 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.

KeyTrain Training Information

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

Getting Started on KeyTrain

OSEA is offering KeyTrain statewide to school districts and Educational Assistants. Registration is available by calling the OSEA Education & Training Office at 800-252-6732.  Please allow seven (7) business days for processing and shipping materials. (OSEA is currently marketing this program to school districts to assist EAs in paying for the program.)

Workbook Cost: The cost of the workbook is $85.  This provides the participant with a physical workbook and necessary training and support.  Time frame for completion of workbook is unlimited.  The 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.  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 can go through the program as many times as necessary. Supplemental tutoring services will be made available through OSEA for any district requesting these services.  Tutor support is generally scheduled in three (3) hour sessions.


Reading for Information (5 levels)

This is the skill of reading and understanding common workplace documents. These include letters, manuals, procedures, and memos. KeyTrain examines the essential aspects of understanding and applying information given in these 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 difficult than the last.  Level 6 and 7 include area and volumes, production rates, determining best deals, multiple unknowns, troubleshooting errors, and nonlinear graphs.

Writing (6 levels)

This portion of the training teaches spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. 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.

WorkKeys Tests and 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 (4) hours blocks to accommodate all three subject areas, although it is not required to take all three assessments at the same time.  Those who have registered and paid for the KeyTrain program will only be charged the base fee of $40 if they choose to take all three WorkKeys assessments.  Anyone “challenging” the WorkKeys Assessment (choosing not to prepare before-hand with the KeyTrain program) will be charged $65.  Tutoring services are not available for those challenging the assessment.  They are provided as a supplement to the purchase of the KeyTrain workbook.

The WorkKeys Pedagogy—Instructional Techniques Demonstration/Evaluation

The pedagogy piece to satisfy the NCLB is being offered by using a checklist of demonstrated skills, knowledge, and abilities. An evaluator observes the Educational Assistants in the performance of their duties of instruction and score using a rating scale of 1 to 5 during the demonstration of skills, knowledge and ability to instruct students as assigned.  The pedagogy packet cost is $40, which includes the WorkKeys Proficiency Certificate upon passing the assessment and pedagogy.

OSEA has been instrumental in the development of this pedagogy assessment. Educational Assistants from OSEA were asked to help design and validate this assessment tool to be offered nationally by ACT, WorkKeys Assessments.

WorkKeys Proficiency Certificate for Teachers’ Assistants

ACT confirms both successful completion of both the academic assessment, with scores averaging 4 in math and reading, and 3 in writing; and a passing score on the pedagogy evaluation, then generates and mails the WorkKeys Proficiency Certificate for Teachers’ Assistants.

LEAs can refer potential new EAs that need to take the assessment to OSEA at 800-252-6732.

Success Rate

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


For updates on training programs, visit the OSEA website at www.osea.org.

For more information about the KeyTrain program and the ACT WorkKeys Assessment, contact the OSEA Salem office at 800-252-6732 or email the Education & Training Specialist, Connie De Yoe, at connie@osea.org.


Click here for a list of current Training and Services Costs