[Paleopsych] CHE: Educational Testing Service Expands Efforts to Measure Computer-and-Information Literacy
checker at panix.com
Wed Sep 28 19:32:36 UTC 2005
Educational Testing Service Expands Efforts to Measure
News bulletin from the Chronicle of Higher Education, 5.9.20
The Educational Testing Service is expanding its efforts to measure
how savvy students are about technology and about the information that
they get online.
After unveiling an information-literacy test last year aimed at
students entering their junior year of college, the testing service
has designed a new version for high-school seniors, to help colleges
decide if students can handle basic information-processing tasks
needed for college work. The new test will be called the ICT Literacy
Assesment-Core Level. The first three letters stand for "information
and communication technology."
The new test was developed based on feedback from college officials,
said Teresa M. Egan, project manager for new-product development at
ETS. "They were really in need of something that would measure the
skills of students transitioning from high school to college," she
The testing service will begin pilot studies of the new test in
January, Ms. Egan said. For the first year or so, colleges who give
the test will receive only aggregate scores rather than individual
scores for each test-taker. Later, once ETS officials have developed a
baseline, individual scores will be given.
ETS officials say that by January, they will begin giving individual
scores for the test the organization developed last year, which will
now be called ICT Literacy Assesment-Advanced Level. Both tests are
administered online, and attempt to measure both computer skills, such
as whether students know how to send e-mail attachments, and more
general information-processing skills, such as whether students can
determine if an online source is reliable.
Scores for the advanced-level test will range from 400 to 700 points,
and score reports will also contain breakdowns on how students did in
each of seven areas.
ETS plans to increase the price of the test from about $25 per student
to between $35 and $40 per student. Officials at the testing service
have also reduced the length of the exam, from two hours to 75
"There was a fatigue factor of students sitting for two hours," said
Ms. Egan. And colleges will now have the option of administering the
test in two parts, so that it can more easily be given during college
courses, she said.
The California State University System was among the first colleges to
give the exam, which it used to test 3,300 students on its 23 campuses
Ilene F. Rockman, manager of an information-competence program for the
Cal State office of the chancellor, said the test showed what she had
suspected -- that many students need help when it comes to information
"The assumptions that are sometimes made, that students are
information- and communication-technology literate, were not always
borne out by the results of this assessment," she said. "What I have
said many times is that students may know how to surf the Web, they
may know how to download music and send e-mail, but that does not mean
they know how to analyze information."
Neither she nor Ms. Egan would elaborate on what the aggregate scores
revealed about students' strengths and weaknesses when it comes to IT
Gordon W. Smith, Cal State's director of systemwide library programs,
said he hopes that one day information literacy will be considered
just as important as math and reading competency. He hopes that the
tests might lead Cal State campuses and other colleges to offer
remedial courses or tutorials to students who score poorly.
"We certainly have some work to do in order to bring the skill levels
of our students in information literacy up to where they ought to be,"
Background article from The Chronicle:
* Testing Service to Unveil an Assessment of Computer and
Information Literacy (11/12/2004)
E-mail me if you have problems getting the referenced article.
More information about the paleopsych