You may think it’s safe to assume that all of today’s students have a basic knowledge of computer skills, given that we live in the digital age. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. As noted by The Instructional Design & Development Blog of the FITS Department at DePaul University, just because you know how to use social media, it doesn’t mean you are computer literate.
Today’s students arrive at school with a wide range of computer skills. Accurately assessing these skills gives you the data you need to best meet the needs of students – before, during and after coursework. Testing allows you to:
- Place students in the course that best fits their skill level. Many students arrive at school lacking basic computer skills such as file management, email, Windows, and the use of applications such as word processing and spreadsheets. Others are well prepared. Placing everyone in the same introductory computer class leaves some students bored while others struggle to keep up. Testing allows you to match students with the right course.
- Let advanced students test out of the course. In the same way that students with advanced math skills should not sit in a basic math class, students possessing excellent computer skills should not waste time in a basic computer course. Testing provides an accurate and fair means for allowing advanced students to bypass courses that they have already mastered.
- Validate that students registering for online courses have prerequisite computer skills. Online courses require a fundamental understanding of email, file management and other computer functions. If a student doesn’t possess these skills, chances are they will struggle – and have a much higher chance of dropping the course. Testing allows you to identify students who are unprepared and need some basic computer training before taking online courses.
- Modify course content to meet the needs of students. As more computer skills are taught at the high school level, student skills are continually changing. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your class and modify course content to meet those needs. Instead of teaching topics that students have already mastered, adjust your content to focus time on the skills that students need. And testing mid-course allows you to identify topics that need more work.
- Confirm learning following course completion. Computer skills are essential for success in future classes and in the workforce. Testing after course completion or as a graduation requirement confirms that students possess the skills needed to be successful.
Computer literacy is more important now than ever, and no student should be left behind. To learn more about testing your students, read about Labyrinth Learning’s eLab Skills Evaluation Tool, which instructors can use to test their students’ skills and help prepare them for success. Visit our website or contact us for more information.