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Tech Tally: Approaches to Assessing Technological Literacy
technological literacy would be of little value to employers, who are more concerned with workers’ job-related skills.1
Case 1: Statewide Grade-Level Assessment
Description and Rationale
In Case 1, the target population is students in a particular state and in particular grades. The exact grades are not important, but for the sake of illustration we assume that they include one elementary grade (3rd, 4th, or 5th grade), one middle school grade (6th, 7th, or 8th grade), and one high school grade (9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th). So, for example, the test population might consist of all 4th-, 8th-, and 11th-graders in Kentucky public schools.
A statewide assessment has many similarities to large-scale national assessments and small, school-based assessments. But there are also important differences. For instance, a statewide assessment generally falls somewhere between a national assessment and a school-based assessment in terms of the timeliness of results and the breadth and depth of knowledge covered. But the most important difference is that a statewide assessment provides an opportunity for assessors to calculate individual, subgroup, and group-level scores. In addition, aggregate scores can be determined at the state, district, school, and classroom levels. Disaggregated scores can be determined for student subgroups, according to variables such as gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
The assessment in this sample case is in some ways—such as the targeted test group and how the data are analyzed—similar to assessments currently used by states to meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). To comply with this legislation, states are required to test students’ proficiency in reading/language arts and mathematics annually in grades 3 through 8 and at least once in grades 10 through 12. States must also include assessments of science proficiency in three designated grade spans by 2007. Results are generally reported within about four months of administration of the assessment.
Some proponents of technological literacy, including the authoring committee of Technically Speaking, have suggested that there may be at least an indirect link between general technological literacy and performance in the workplace (NAE and NRC, 2002, pp. 40–42).