Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Coats, Linda T.

Committee Member

King, Stephanie B.

Committee Member

Prince, Debra L.

Committee Member

Wiseman, William M.

Committee Member

Davis, James E.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership


The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of ACT WorkKeys assessments as an indicator of student success within the community college. The number of companies that are utilizing ACT WorkKeys as an indicator to determine work readiness has increased. As community colleges are challenged with training the current workforce for jobs that are in demand, skills gaps that exist have caused challenges that have created difficulties meeting these demands. Due to the responsibilities of the community college to train the workforce explored in this study will be the outcome of ACT WorkKeys as a mechanism that could assist with bridging the current skills gap. The research was conducted using ACT WorkKeys assessments in the areas of Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information. The combination of level scores on these assessments yields a National Career Readiness Level certification. Degree-seeking community college career technical students were administer these ACT WorkKeys assessments during the spring 2009 – fall 2012 semesters to determine if their National Career Readiness Level of attainment was an iii indicator of their success in avoiding remediation classes, completing their program of study, and obtaining employment. A quantitative research design utilizing Pearson’s Chi Square was used to determine if differences existed. Data included WorkKeys scores, college English and math course placement, program of study completion, and job placement. Findings revealed that significant differences existed with the National Career Readiness Level attainment, as derived from the level attainment results of Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information assessments, and student placement in college level English and reading courses. Other findings indicated differences were not existent between National Career Readiness Level attainment and program of study completion nor job placement. Recommendations include conducting further research within other community colleges observing other variables that could affect course placement, program of study completion, and job placement.