'This test is worthless': Lawmakers, kids who take WorkKeys test say it is so simple it's insulting

Posted at 2:00 PM, Apr 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-09 14:30:13-04

(WXYZ) — Students and schools say it is a “stupid test”, yet millions of your tax dollars are being spent on it. Why? One lawmaker says the reason is the law requires it, and he is working to change that.

Rep. John Reilly (R-Northern Oakland County) has introduced House Bill 4162 which would make the WorkKeys test optional for schools.

Reilly says for ten years the state has forced schools to take this test. This year it will cost more than $4 million.

“This test is worthless,” said Reilly.

Dayna Boyd of Dearborn Heights agrees. She graduated last year and took the WorkKeys test when she was a junior in 2017. She says the questions on the WorkKeys test are so simple they’re insulting.

Here are a couple examples: The test asks high schoolers how to make change for a $20, and when a PSI gauge needle is pointed towards 35, what the PSI is.

“They’re ridiculous questions,” said Boyd.

She says one question stood out. It asked students to locate a marked mute button on a remote control. She says spending half a day on such a test is not the best use of time.

Proponents of the test say it is used by some companies in hiring. Having a WorkKeys test score could help students get an entry-level job.

“These simple questions, they do have merit to employers. They do help us understand where that person begins when they knock on our door,” said Jim Bennett of Wolverine Coil Spring, a company in the Grand Rapids area, as he testified before a House Committee.

Still, the number of employers requesting WorkKey results as they hire appears to be low. WXYZ searched for the keyword “WorkKeys” in job postings in Michigan on It resulted in 47 jobs.

Representatives from ACT, which is behind the test told lawmakers with public awareness more businesses could use it, creating opportunity for students.

They provided 7 Action News a statement saying:

Through fewer than three hours of testing, students are able to earn an ACT National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), a unique career readiness credential that employers across Michigan and the country use when recruiting, hiring, and training their workforce. Over 250 employers in Michigan recognize the NCRC in their hiring processes, and organizations such as the Michigan Manufacturing Association and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce champion the reliance of their member employers on this credential. Nationally, over 4.5 million individuals possess a NCRC, and 23 states including Michigan allocate funding for individuals to take ACT WorkKeys assessments.

Reilly says if individual schools have partnerships with businesses they could continue to administer the test. He simply doesn’t believe they should be forced to.