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New Tool Helps Students Discover Their Aptitudes

Rutherford County Schools are using a new computer program to help middle school students better identify their aptitudes and match those to possible career paths.

Eight-grade students all across the district took the YouScience Snapshot aptitude test last semester, and received reports showing them career interests, skill sets, career matches and information on college or technical schools, said Barbara Powers, RCS middle school coordinator. Students also had access to a resume ́ builder program. Oakland High School students took the test last year as a pilot program.

The YouScience Snapshot tests, which are administered in five exercises, were structured in ways that made them fun games, Powers said. Some of the students told her they wanted more tests to be like that.

The program can be used to better help girls who have science and math skills to connect with STEM-related careers, according to a YouScience company press release. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math and may refer to careers in advanced manufacturing, engineering and computer programming, among others. The company found that only 9 percent of Rutherford County girls tested showed a high interest in STEM careers, but more than 64 percent of them have an aptitude for those careers.

Girls who show the aptitude and interest in STEM careers can then take related classes in high school, Powers said.

The new program is an improvement over the previous system, Powers said. Previously, the district gave aptitude tests, but there were more academic-based and were more limited in data.

“It is eye-opening to observe a wide range of students discover a whole new world of career opportunities that they would have never considered before taking Snapshot,” Powers said.

Read the original article here.