Friday, April 08, 2005

Yet another test

Our current educational structure revolves around testing - for good or for bad. When I was a student it was the all important SAT. Today's students (and teachers and parents) are concerned with EOGs (End of Grade Testing) as well as SATs and AP exams. Some say they "level" the playing field for acceptance to college, others argue that we are teaching our students to just be better test takers. Yet, another test has been created and will soon be implemented by the ETS (Educational Testing Service) - the Information and Communication Technology literacy assessment. As discussed in thie Wired article.

The test is an interesting progression from not only previous standardized tests. It is trying to assess "How does one go about finding the answers to a computer related problem?" not just find the answer itself.

The corporate world currently has several computer tests already implemented. One of which I was oh so fortunate to take when applying for work at a temp agency. It was an interactive test that would ask where I might find a particular menu item and then I was to click on it. Now, I am no memorization queen, but I can find something through a series of a deductions. Unfortunately, the HR test only gave me one chance and although I did well I was still disheartened by the experience.

It appears that the ETS test is more progressive than the HR test I discussed previously. It will be looking at how many steps and what search tools were used to find an answer. This provides a better insight into someone's technical ability than any assessment I can currently think of. I feel that that is a true marker of success in technology - understanding how to find the answer when you don't know something and not being afraid to try different approaches (see previous gamer post).

I am concerned about preparing our students for a world where computers and technology are commonplace. Yet, I am torn. Do we really want to implement another test? Just because it takes someone a while to get an answer - should that really matter if it is the right answer. Is technological literacy something we can really test and would we ever want to?

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