02/14/10 — Student computer skills test changes

View Archive

Student computer skills test changes

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 14, 2010 1:50 AM

The computer skills test given to eighth grade students each year, which was part of the state's graduation requirement, is being replaced.

School officials announced the elimination of the computer skills test, in place since 2002. The legislature changed some of the requirements during session last summer.

"Effective with this school year, school districts are now required to report to DPI (Department of Public Instruction) the technology literacy of each eighth grade student," said Olivia Pierce, executive director of community relations, media and technology for Wayne County Public Schools. "We have a federal requirement that's tied to Title II, Part D funds, which we receive in Wayne County schools."

DPI has released guidelines to each school district for the eighth grade literacy assessment plan. Districts will be allowed to develop their own assessment.

Mrs. Pierce said there are 10 proficiencies that must be addressed in the assessment. Students will be required to meet seven or more to be identified as proficient.

Among the suggested areas of proficiency are demonstration of ethical behavior in security, privacy and personal information; using technology safely in the online networking community; and identifying and discussing terms/concepts associated with safe, effective and efficient use of the Internet, which includes password, firewalls and Spam, for example.

School officials have developed a 40-question multiple choice test, she said, which will be administered to all eighth graders March 15-19.

In addition to meeting the state's requirement, the district will also acknowledge each student's computer skills level, Mrs. Pierce said.

"Now that it's removed as a graduation requirement, we decided we would model what has been done with the Work Keys program" in the county, she said. Work Keys allows schools to assess a student's employability as it relates to certain skill sets identified as ones sought in the workplace.

If a student is proficient in all 10 areas, he will receive a gold certificate, she said, further explaining that those with a proficiency in nine areas would receive a silver certificate, and those with a proficiency of seven or eight receive a bronze classification.

The technology literacy status of each student will be recorded and reported to the state. Deadline for submitting information through N.C. Wise is June 4, Mrs. Pierce said.