Image by Extra Ketchup via FlickrThis has been a hot topic in the state of KY and our region the past few weeks/months. Districts are struggling with what does proficiency look like and how to assess it. Several districts have implemented solutions from vendors at little to no cost that assess students in the areas of basic office skills (word processing, spreadsheets, databases, presentations), Internet/Telecommunications, Digital Citizenship and computer systems.
Why all the hoopla over student technology proficiency? Let's start with NCLB Part D that states all school districts must ensure the technology literacy of their students by the eighth grade. Also, the state of Kentucky has recognized the importance technology plays in the role of our students' education and has incorporated technology literacy into the Program of Studies.
Most importantly, we as educational technology leaders must show the value that technology has on student learning and the classroom. We can try to measure these items in a variety of ways, but a critical piece of that measurement has to be student technology proficiency. After all, we are in the business of education and ensuring our students are able to use technology tools once they move into the work force or higher education is vital to their success in a global society.
I pose two questions to the readers:
1. Do the above areas cover the spectrum of what we should assess our students in the area of technology? If not, what other areas should be covered and how would you assess them?
2. I am aware of a couple of vendors who provide services for technology assessment that seem to be popular across our state. The first is Simple Assessment, which has the price tag of Free attached to it. I know that because of this price point it has been adopted fairly well across KY. The other vendor I am aware of that offers good technology assessment is Learning.com. Finally - to the question. What other vendors out there offer a student technology assessment at an affordable cost with a comprehensive assessment?
I have spent some reviewing the two vendors above and have found Learning.com to provide a more in depth assessment of a student's technology skills. Of course, it has a price tag attached to it, where Simple Asssessment is free. (You get what you pay for.) Our district is still looking at the best way to assess these skills. In the coming weeks/months we will likely enter a relationship with a vendor to implement a student technology assessment tool. I look forward to some of your feedback on what has been successful or come up short in your district / classroom.
JDS | CIO