students. The Design Team Knowledge Assessment, parts of which are completed by individuals and parts of which are completed by teams, consists of extended-response and essay questions.
The Praxis Specialty Area Test for Technology Education was designed to assess teachers’ knowledge (ETS, 2005). Seventy percent of the 120 multiple-choice questions on the exam address knowledge of specific categories of technology (e.g., information and communication, construction); the remaining items test familiarity with pedagogical concepts. The focus on specific technologies reflects the historical roots of technology education in industrial arts. According to Educational Testing Service, the Praxis test is being “aligned” more closely with the ITEA Standards for Technological Literacy to reflect a less vocational, more academic and engineering-oriented view of technology studies.
The following sample item from the Praxis test highlights another potential shortcoming of items that assess only factual knowledge.
The National Standards for Technology Education published in 2000 by the International Technology Education Association are titled:
In this example, the suggested correct answer is B, Standards for Technological Literacy. A stickler might point out that the full title of the ITEA document is Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology, which means that none of the answers is correct. More important, however, the value of demonstrating knowledge of the title of this document is not evident. An item that tests a prospective teacher’s knowledge of the contents of the standards would have greater value.
In adult populations, assessment instruments tend to take the form of surveys or polls, and the test population is typically a small, randomly selected sample of a larger target population. Two attempts to gather information about what American adults know and think about technology in 2001 and 2004 were public opinion polls conducted for