Webinar Recap: Using Data to Ensure Students Are Tech Ready

by | Aug 21, 2018 | News

Over 400 educators recently attended the edWeb webinar, Using Data to Ensure Students Are Tech Ready.’s Director of Education Jeff Meyer examined the need for standards-aligned assessment data to drive digital literacy programs in schools and districts. For those who could not make it, here are some of the key points Jeff went over.

Webinar poll question results

Poll question results based on feedback from webinar attendees.


What’s driving the need to assess digital literacy?

Standards and online assessments are driving a growing need to gather measurable data regarding students’ and educators’ digital literacy skills.  These drivers include:

  1. National and State Standards: Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), and the 2016 ISTE Standards for Students and Teachers – your school district may be more closely aligned to one than the other.
  2. Online Assessments: Core curriculum in all four subjects require differing digital literacy skills and capabilities. Students need to have digital literacy skills in order to be able to demonstrate achievement in math and language arts on high stakes online assessments.


Pre-Assessment Prep

There are several assessment preparation tools available to educators today. One of the first things educators can do when considering giving a digital literacy assessment is to begin the selection process by asking critical pre-assessment questions:

  1. Which level of analysis is relevant? Determine the ‘who’ behind the data you need. You may need the analysis for individuals such as teachers or students or for entire classes, schools, or districts.
  2. Which context of use is relevant to ‘myriad of digital literacies’? Examine digital literacy skills from a ‘4 Pillars’ approach. Inquiring about keyboarding, online safety, computational thinking and coding, and business applications presents the wide scope of types of literacy that can be addressed.
  3. What is the object of measuring? Determine if the data you need will provide progress and growth monitoring, curricular and instructional planning, or support digital literacy initiatives.
  4. What perspective method is applied? How are you going to deliver digital literacy? While qualitative assessments like projects and portfolios are excellent assessment approaches, online, quantitative assessments save time, grading, and resources.


Diving into the Data

Once you’ve administered a digital literacy assessment of your choice be sure you are getting the data you need for final reports. Look for testing features such as teacher and administrator dashboards, and raw data file access. Assessments with these features will allow educators to access data they need to see if students have completed the assessment and what proficiency categories they fall into. Then, the data can be evaluated and presented in ways that best meet educator analysis and reporting needs.


Resources for Assessing Digital Literacy

Understanding the digital literacy skill level of your students is the first step toward creating a curriculum strategy that will effectively bridge their gaps.’s Digital Literacy Assessments offer valuable insight into student digital literacy skill proficiency as they align with the 2016 ISTE Standards for Students. These assessments are interactive, and they provide the data needed to make informed decisions around instruction to ensure students are being equipped with essential 21st century skills they need for high school, college, and their future careers.

During the webinar, Jeff gave examples of two free assessment tools that can be used by educators for various purposes and audiences:

Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment: For adults, this tool is free and available online. It covers basic operating procedures, basic maintenance and trouble-shooting, spreadsheets, presentations, and more.

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP): This tool for students collects baseline data on where American students are part of the nation’s report card. This free but compulsory assessment measures student troubleshooting, online safety, information and communication technology and more.

If you’ve never assessed your students’ digital literacy skills is providing a unique opportunity for new users to try it out our free Tech Readiness Quiz, perfect for fifth and sixth grade. To sign up, please go to our registration page.

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