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Table Talk: Career Tests For Kindergartners

Optical scan answer sheet with #2 pencil representing education testing.

On Fridays, The Huffington Post presents a compelling topic to spark discussion at your dinner table.

This week, the organization behind the ACT test announced plans for a new career prep assessment that starts in kindergarten.

The “next generation assessment system,” which will be available to the public in 2014, “tracks students’ career interests, academic performance and progress toward goals,” according to the AP.

It’s not clear yet exactly what form the system will take, but whatever the finished product looks like, it’s sure to spur a discussion about how young is too young to start thinking about college and careers.

As kids face increasing pressure to think about these things before they even reach middle school, it’s important to note that countless successful writers, actors, businesspeople and politicians stumbled upon their true passions after starting on totally different paths. Martha Stewart, for example, was a stockbroker before becoming a home-goods goddess; before she was the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten was a nuclear policy analyst for the White House. And Al Franken was a writer and actor for “Saturday Night Live” long before he became a senator.

In fact, people often change jobs as many as ten times in their lives — and few end up on the career track that appealed to them most when they were five, fifteen, or even twenty-five years old. That said, of course, it never hurts to dream.

Questions for discussion:

* What do you think you want to be when you grow up? Has this changed over the years?

* Are there concrete steps you can take to get where you want to go?

* Have adults in your family ended up with the careers they thought they would have when they were kids?

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