All recognized skill standards are composed of seven elements. For the six work- and worker-oriented elements, the common nomenclature endorsed by the National Skill Standards Board (NSSB) was adopted. (The NSSB no longer exists as a federal entity. However, manufacturing and customer service and sales skill standards developed by its voluntary partnerships, the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council and the Sales & Service Voluntary Partnership, have been recognized and are still viable.)
Three work-oriented elements describe the work itself and the level of performance considered competent on the job:
1. Critical Work Functions
Critical Work Functions are the principal responsibilities required to perform the key purpose, or work-related goal, of the occupation, as indicated in the skill standards. Typically, an occupation can be described with 10-15 critical work functions.
2. Key Activities
Key Activities are the major tasks that must be performed to accomplish each Critical Work Function. As a general rule, 3 to 6 key activities will describe each critical work function.
3. Performance Criteria
Performance Criteria are the standards that indicate when a key activity is performed competently. Performance criteria identify the type, quality and level of output of the key activities.
Three worker-oriented elements identify the skills, knowledge and conditions required to do the work:
4. Occupational Skills, Knowledge and Conditions
Occupational Skills, Knowledge and Conditions are the technical skills specific to an occupation or industry, such as reading blueprints or knowledge of graphic design and layout principles, and the tools, resources and equipment required to perform a key activity.
5. Academic Knowledge and Skills
Academic Knowledge and Skills are the four traditional academic subjects, including both the knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge on the job.
Mathematics - Understand, interpret, and manipulate numeric or symbolic information; solve problems by selecting and applying appropriate quantitative methods, such as arithmetic, quantitative reasoning, estimation, measurement, probability, statistics, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry.
Reading - Understand and make use of written information that may be presented in a variety of formats, such as text, tables, lists, figures, and diagrams; and select reading strategies appropriate to the purpose such as skimming for highlights, reading for detail, reading for meaning and critical analysis.
Science - Understand and apply the basic principles of the physical, chemical, biological, and behavioral sciences; understand and apply the scientific method, including formulating and stating hypotheses and evaluating them by experimentation or observation.
Writing - Express ideas and information in written form clearly, succinctly, accurately, and in an organized manner; use English language conventions of spelling, punctuation, grammar, and sentence and paragraph structure; and tailor written communication to the intended purpose and audience.
6. Employability Knowledge and Skills
Employability Knowledge and Skills are applied knowledge and skills required for effective performance across a range of occupations. There are 13 employability knowledge and skills.
Adaptability - Change one’s own behavior or work methods to adjust to other people or to changing situations or work demands; be receptive to new information, ideas, or strategies to achieve goals.
Analyzing and Solving Problems - Anticipate or identify problems and their causes; develop and analyze potential solutions or improvements using rational/logical processes or innovative and creative approaches when needed.
Building Consensus - Build consensus among individuals or groups by: facilitating agreements that involve sharing or exchanging resources or resolving differences in such a way as to promote mutual goals and interests; persuading others to change their point of view or behavior without losing their future support; and resolving conflicts, confrontations, and disagreements while maintaining productive working relationships.
Gathering and Analyzing Information - Obtain facts, information, or data relevant to a particular problem, question, or issue through observation of events or situations, discussion with others, research, or retrieval from written or electronic sources; organize, integrate, analyze, and evaluate information.
Leading Others - Motivate, inspire and influence others toward effective individual or teamwork performance, goal attainment, and personal learning and development by serving as a mentor, coach, and role model, and by providing feedback and recognition/rewards.
Listening - Attend to, receive, and correctly interpret verbal communications and directions through cues such as the content and context of the message and the tone and “body language” of the speaker.
Making Decisions and Judgments - Make decisions that consider relevant facts and information, potential risks and benefits, and short- and long-term consequences of alternatives.
Organizing and Planning - Organize and structure work for effective performance and goal attainment; set and balance priorities; anticipate obstacles; formulate plans consistent with available human, financial, and physical resources; and modify plans or adjust priorities given changing goals or conditions.
Self and Career Development - Identify own work and career interests, strengths, and limitations, and pursue education, training, feedback, or other opportunities for learning and development; manage, direct, and monitor one’s own learning and development.
Speaking - Express ideas and facts orally in a clear and understandable manner that sustains listener attention and interest; tailor oral communication to the intended purpose and audience.
Using Information and Communications Technology - Select, access, and use necessary information, data, and communications-related technologies, such as basic personal computer applications, telecommunications equipment, Internet, electronic calculators, voice mail, electronic mail, facsimile, and copying equipment, to accomplish work activities.
Using Social Skills - Interact with others in ways that are friendly, courteous, and tactful, and that demonstrate respect for individual and cultural differences, and for the attitudes and feelings of others.
Working in Teams - Work cooperatively and collaboratively with others to achieve goals by sharing or integrating ideas, knowledge, skills, information, support, resources, responsibility, and recognition.
Ratings for Academic and Employability Knowledge and Skills
Each academic and employability knowledge and skill is rated from a low of 1 to a high of five. The rating indicates the level or complexity of knowledge and skill required to perform the Critical Work Function. The relevant academic and employability knowledge and skills and their rating levels are found in the matrix attached to each Critical Work Function.
The ratings are determined using skill scales developed by the NSSB and described fully in the NSSB’s Skill Scales Companion Guide. The Texas Workforce Investment Council wishes to acknowledge the use of the academic and employability knowledge and skills, and the associated skill scales and Companion Guide used to determine rating levels, developed by the NSSB.
7. Statement of Assessment
Statement of Assessment is the seventh skill standards element. The Statement of Assessment simply indicates the method of assessment (including strategy and required tools and equipment) that the industry group recommends educators use to evaluate the level of skill attainment for each Critical Work Function. The Statement of Assessment is found at the end of the Academic and Employability Knowledge and Skills matrix attached to each critical work function.