News from NOCTI (May 2024)

05.30.2024 | News, Newsletters

Happy Spring! Here are the latest updates from NOCTI.

Unlocking A*S*K Success: Three Key Tips from Educators

NOCTI and MBA Research are dedicated to preparing learners to be ready for college and careers. As a delivery partner, NOCTI is proud to highlight its longstanding partnership with MBA Research. The A*S*K Business Institute, an MBA Research and Curriculum Center initiative, offers independent proof of learning for and about business, marketing, finance, entrepreneurship, and management. As an industry-driven certification program, A*S*K (Assessment of Skills and Knowledge for Business) exams provide objective documentation of knowledge and skills for serious business students. So, how can you equip your students for A*S*K success? Angela Rush, Business & Marketing Program Consultant at the Kentucky Department of Education, and Vernelle Shaw, Instructional Specialist at Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, shared these three tips.

1. Preparation is Key

To familiarize students with both the content and test item format of the A*S*K exams, Angela and Vernelle recommend using practice tests and pretests. Along with ordering through MBA Research, NOCTI provides exam blueprints containing competency lists, percentage breakdowns, and sample questions. NOCTI also offers the ordering of pre-tests and post-test A*S*K exams for its customers. As a classroom teacher, Angela schedules practice tests throughout the semester, helping students to get a better feel for the exams. Using the resources regularly ensures students are comfortable and helps to alleviate testing anxiety. Similarly, Maryland teachers found success by making exam preparation a regular part of the class, building it into the schedule on Friday mornings.

Additionally, curriculum alignment is an essential piece of A*S*K success.

2. Try it for Yourself

“I don’t think any teacher should administer the exam without taking it first so that they know what the students are going to face, ” Vernelle said. It can be tough to fully prepare students for the A*S*K exams without experiencing it yourself. Several Maryland educators did just that, putting themselves in students’ shoes by taking an A*S*K exam and displaying the certificate in their classroom as a means of encouragement. It impacted students: “Teachers were able to say, listen, I did it, and so I know how this feels, and we got through it.” Students will get through it, too.

The Fundamental Business Concepts exam is a good test for teachers to assess their general business knowledge.

3. Reach Out for Support

MBA Research is available every step of the way. NOCTI and MBA Research have dedicated customer service teams happy to answer any questions. Comprehensive professional development training sessions are also available to help better understand the A*S*K testing process and learn how to integrate the exams effectively into curriculum. Both Angela and Vernelle found these sessions invaluable for a smooth transition.

A*S*K certifications are comprehensive, challenging, and highly focused on real-world business expectations. “A*S*K provides rigor for students,” said Angela, “We know they know the content.” Use A*S*K to fulfill your industry-recognized credential requirements. Vernelle agreed, “It’s a great partnership and way for our students to earn their certification.”

Celebrate Student Achievement!

Recognizing student achievement in Career and Technical Education (CTE) is incredibly important. It is a powerful motivator, encouraging students to excel and remain engaged in their studies. By celebrating student success, educators and industry leaders create a positive learning environment that boosts students’ confidence and prepares them for successful careers in a rapidly evolving workforce. This focus on recognition motivates students and strengthens the connection between education and industry, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared for their future professions. NOCTI offers various opportunities to recognize student achievement.

Workforce Competency Credential

Students can validate their skills with NOCTI certification. The Workforce Competency Credential is awarded to individuals who score at or above the NOCTI criterion-referenced cut score on a NOCTI credentialing assessment.

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Digital Badges

Digital badges are a unique way to showcase individual achievements, providing a three-dimensional view of their skills and competencies beyond traditional certificates or report cards.

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College Credit Recommendation

Most NOCTI credentials come with the added benefit of college credit recommendations. NOCTI collaborates with the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS) to have industry experts and professors evaluate the rigor of NOCTI credentials, translating them into valuable college credit equivalencies. The college credit equivalents for NOCTI’s credentials can be found on the NCCRS website.

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Press Release Template

NOCTI offers press release templates to help celebrate student achievements with the broader community and stakeholders. These templates highlight students’ success in earning NOCTI certification, marking a significant milestone that showcases their dedication, skill, and commitment to excellence. It’s a great way to publicly celebrate and share students’ accomplishments!

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Subject Matter Expert Spotlight: Dr. Cathleen Plesnarski

Professional headshot of Dr. Cathleen Plesnarski

NOCTI is excited to shine a spotlight on one of its incredibly talented Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), Dr. Cathleen Plesnarski, Executive Director at the Eastern Center for Arts and Technology in Pennsylvania. Dr. Plesnarski’s journey with NOCTI began during the school’s “NOCTI Day,” which is a day dedicated for all seniors to complete their performance assessments. She later became a NOCTI SME, playing a vital role in developing a new Fundamentals of Teaching NOCTI credential.

Reflecting on her experience with NOCTI as an SME, Dr. Plesnarski commented, “I had the opportunity to be part of a statewide committee to create a task list for an emerging teacher program and was asked to continue that work and help to create the new NOCTI credential. I really enjoy writing questions and performance jobs and looked forward to collaborating with peers on this important project.” Dr. Plesnarski is interested in collaborating with NOCTI as an SME on future projects, commenting that when you are highly engaged in the field of study for the assessment being developed, it can be a rewarding experience.

With a rich background in mathematics, Dr. Plesnarski dedicated ten years to teaching the subject before assuming her current role. Her introduction to career and technical education (CTE) during her time as a student at Pennsylvania State University sparked a love for CTE, ignited by a chance encounter at a career fair. Upon visiting a technical school, she was instantly impressed by CTE and its potential to make a meaningful impact.

Outside of her professional endeavors, Dr. Plesnarski enjoys hiking and visiting wellness resorts. She likes to connect with her creative side and find peace in the world around her. She also enjoys immersing herself in new experiences and sharing them with her family.

Dr. Plesnarski believes assisting students in connecting with meaningful careers is valuable. She finds it rewarding to be in a position to cultivate a school system that helps students find their passions and pursue their career goals. NOCTI extends its gratitude to Dr. Plesnarski for her invaluable contributions to CTE and her outstanding work as a NOCTI SME.

If you want to become a NOCTI SME, you can apply online at and submit your resume.