Jun 02 2016

Digital Skills Education Takes Place in Schools and at Home

Results of a national assessment show which factors control a students’ technology and engineering literacy.

Learning opportunities experienced both inside and outside the classroom influence a student’s technology aptitude.

That finding and others come from the Nation’s Report Card for Technology and Engineering Literacy assessment. Published in late May by the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), the report card relies on results from a 2014 scenario-based assessment of more than 21,000 eighth-graders to show how students use digital tools to solve real-world problems.

According to the data, much technology- and engineering-focused learning happens at home: 63 percent of students said family members most often taught them about building and fixing things, and about analyzing how things work.

Family members’ influence on technology aptitude can also be seen in trends related to parental education. The report card shows that the children of college-educated parents performed best on technology and engineering literacy (TEL) assessments. Students’ average TEL scores decreased steadily with the parents’ education level.

SOURCE: National Assessment of Education Progress

Formal learning opportunities, such as technology or engineering courses offered by schools, also impact student literacy. Eighth-graders attending private schools outperformed those attending public schools. Data also shows that students living in the suburbs scored highest on the TEL assessment overall, followed by students in towns, rural areas and finally cities.

SOURCE: National Assessment of Education Progress

Bill Bushaw, executive director of the National Assessment Governing Board, explained these findings in an interview with the Center for Digital Education: “It comes back to opportunities and how different students for various reasons have different opportunities to learn, and the results highlight the profusion of opportunities for some students and the lack of opportunities for other students,” he said.


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