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Rational for and Discussion of Assessment Questions

This section presents an overview of the approach used to the development of the self-assessment instruments. It contains links to a specific discussion of each of the five self-assessment instruments that have been completed so far.

This Website was originally developed to support ICT in education planning in Oregon. Thus, some questions in the self-assessment instruments and some of the rational for these questions is specific to teacher preservice and inservice education in Oregon. For the most part, however, the self-assessment instruments are independent of the standards and the teacher education programs of any particular state.

General Considerations

International Society for Technology in Education Standards

International Technology in Education Association

Teacher Standards and Practices Commission for the State of Oregon

Other Rationale

Specific Discussion for Each of the Five Instruments

Instrument # 1. General-purpose ICT tools.

Instrument # 2. ICT as an integral component of the content of the disciplines you are planning to teach.

Instrument # 3. ICT uses in instruction, assessment, student learning, and student work.

Instrument # 4. ICT as a personal productivity tool in a teacher's professional work and career.

Instrument # 5. ICT as a discipline of study.

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General Considerations

In this document, we use the term Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to designate the full range of computer hardware, software, and connectivity, Thus we include calculators, handheld computers, laptop computers, microcomputers, mainframe and super computers, cell telephones, digital still and video cameras, computer game machines and games, and so on.

Instructional uses of computers began to creep into precollege education in the late 1950s. This has been a long, slow, but continuing process. Now (in 2003) we know that:

  • In the United States, K-12 schools have approximately one microcomputer per five students. While many of these are in computer labs, since 1999 more than half are in individual teachers' classrooms.
  • Essentially all precollege schools in the United States have Internet connectivity, and most classrooms have Internet connectivity.
  • It is increasingly common to find a pod of three to five Internet-connected microcomputers in a classroom.
  • More than 3/4 of precollege students have access to a microcomputer and the Internet at home,. Click here for year 2002 data from a Corporation for Public Broadcasting report.
  • For many years, the US Federal Government has been making a strong push for increased connectivity and for improving the effective use of computers in precollege education.
  • In 1999, the number of employer-provided microcomputers per white collar employee in the US averaged 1.05 per employee.

Our educational systems are slow to change. Our educational system has proven to be ill equipped to accommodate the rapid pace of ICT change in this country and in the world. A few of the most difficult challenges include:

  • The very rapid pace of change of ICT hardware. Computers began to be mass produced in the early 1950s and began to be widely used in business and industry during the 1960s. During the past 35 years, the cost effectiveness (the amount of computer capability per dollar) has increased by a factor of more than a million.
  • During the past 35 years the ICT field has changed from having relatively little connectivity to having the Internet, to having the Web, to having Internet 2, which is about a thousand times as fast as the currently widely used Internet.
  • During the past 35 years, a huge software industry has developed. Some components of this industry focus specifically on educational software. Other components focus on entertainment, edutainment (a combination of education and entertainment), on general purpose tools useful to almost all computer users, and on special purpose tools that are quite specific to particular disciplines and application areas.

There is no question that ICT is important to business, industry, research, government, and the military. ICT provides powerful aids to representing and solving problems, and to communication. ICT aids in the automation of many processes that formerly were carried out by hand and/or by use of slower and less reliable tools.

However, the continued rapid proliferation of ICT, and the continued rapid improvement of the capabilities of ICT systems, does not provide simple answers as to what our precollege educational system should be doing with respect to ICT. What has gradually emerged is relatively widespread acceptance of assertions such as the following:

  • Students and teachers should be provided with adequate and appropriate ICT facilities.
  • There should be ICT in education standards for students, teachers, and school administrators.
  • Students should receive adequate and appropriate education in the use of ICT facilities.
  • Curriculum content , instructional processes, and student assessment should reflect appropriate use of ICT that is thoroughly integrated throughout the curriculum.
  • Teachers and school administrators should receive preservice and inservice education to adequately prepare them to integrate ICT into curriculum content, instructional processes, assessment, and their other professional work.

These self-assessment instruments given on this Website make use of the 7-point "Expertise" scale pictured below.

This is a Likert scale, and it is certainly not an equal interval scale. The scale was selected so that it would have a mid point--in this case, the ISTE National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers. In essence, these are the standards that are being used by NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) since NCATE developed the standards with the help of ISTE. Click here for a discussion of the seven points on this scale.

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ISTE Standards

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is this county's major professional society working in the field of Information and Communication Technology in precollege education and teacher education. It was established in 1979 by David Moursund, and its National Headquarters are located in Eugene, Oregon.

ISTE has developed:

The National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for Teachers is broken into six major components, titled:

  1. Technology Operations and Concepts.
  2. Planning and Designing Learning Environments and Experiences.
  3. Teaching, Learning, and the Curriculum.
  4. Assessment and Evaluation.
  5. Productivity and Professional Practice.
  6. Social, Ethical, Legal, and Human Issues.

Click here to access a detailed list of the six components and their sub components.

While at first glance the ISTE Standards seem comprehensive, they give short shift to the discipline of Computer and Information Science (CIS). The first of the six standards states:

Teachers demonstrate a sound understanding of technology operations and concepts. Teachers:

  1. demonstrate introductory knowledge, skills, and understanding of concepts related to technology (as described in the ISTE National Education Technology Standards for Students);
  2. demonstrate continual growth in technology knowledge and skills to stay abreast of current and emerging technologies.

An examination of the profiles for students shows some mention of topics commonly considered to be parts of the field of Computer and Information Science. For example

  1. Item 8 in the Grades 3-5 Profiles states that students "use technology resources (e.g., calculators, data collection probes, videos, educational software) for problem solving, self-directed learning, and extended learning activities.
  2. Item 1 in the Grades 6-8 Profile states that students: "Apply strategies for identifying and solving routine hardware and software problems that occur during everyday use.
  3. Item 9 in the Grades 9-12 Profiles states that students "investigate and apply expert systems, intelligent agents, and simulations in real-world situations.

However, there is no mention of students learning about the development and testing of procedures, procedureal thinking, computer programming,, and other topics that lie at the core of the discipline of Computer and Information Science.

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International Technology Education Association (ITEA)

Many people use the general term "technology" when they specifically mean computer technology or ICT. Thus, for example, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) specifically focuses on ICT in education, but its title does not reflect this fact. The International Technology Education Association (ITEA) focuses on the full range of technologies,

Quoting from the ITEA Website:

The International Technology Education Association is the largest professional educational association, principal voice, and information clearinghouse devoted to enhancing technology education through experiences in our schools (K-12). Its membership encompasses individuals and institutions throughout the world with the primary membership in North America.

ITEA's mission is to advance technological capabilities for all people and to nurture and promote the professionalism of those engaged in these pursuits.

ITEA seeks to meet the professional needs and interests of members as well as to improve public understanding of technology education and its contributions

ITEA represents more than 40,000 technology educators in the U.S. alone who are developers, administrators, and university personnel in the field representing all levels of education.

ITEA corporate members are comprised of leading technology companies.

ITEA conducts various professional development programs and holds an Annual Conference -- the largest technology education showcase of exhibits and educational sessions in the world.

ITEA publishes The Technology Teacher, Technology and Children,The Journal of Technology Education, and a variety of other publications and videos that lead the profession by providing teaching directions, instructional ideas, and networking opportunities.

ITEA has ten primary committees that coordinate all aspects of technology education and sponsor dozens of meetings, conferences, and exhibits each year.

ITEA sponsors an active honors and awards program that recognizes outstanding teachers and programs (K-12) from states, provinces and countries that are affiliated with the Association.

ITEA also presents award certificates and supports other programs which recognize outstanding efforts in the technology teaching profession.

ITEA conducts a vigorous public policy program, frequently providing information to government, agencies, associations, and other special interest groups concerning technology education. The Association strives to provide an understanding of the importance of technology education to the future growth and well-being of all nations.

What is Technology?

"Broadly speaking, technology is how people modify the natural world to suit their own purposes. From the Greek word techne, meaning art or artifice or craft, technology literally means the act of making or crafting, but more generally it refers to the diverse collection of processes and knowledge that people use to extend human abilities and to satisfy human needs and wants." (Excerpt from Standards for Technological Literacy, ITEA, 2000)

There are many definitions of technology and many misrepresentations of what technology is meant to be. Below you will find the terms and definitions that we use in order to discuss this widely misunderstood term.

Technology--1. Human innovation in action that involves the generation of knowledge and processes to develop systems that solve problems and extend human capabilities. 2. The innovation, change, or modification of the natural environment to satisfy perceived human needs and wants.

Technological Literacy--The ability to use, manage, understand, and assess technology.

Technology education--A study of technology, which provides an opportunity for students to learn about the processes and knowledge related to technology that are needed to solve problems and extend human capabilities.

ITEA has developed technology literacy standards for technology education in K-12 education. While these cover far more than just ICT in education, ICT is inherently a part of many of the standards. Here are the ITEA Technology Literacy Standards:

The Nature of Technology

Standard 1: Students will develop an understanding of the characteristics and scope of technology.

Standard 2: Students will develop an understanding of the core concepts of technology.

Standard 3: Students will develop an understanding of the relationships among technologies and the connections between technology and other fields of study.

Technology and Society

Standard 4: Students will develop an understanding of the cultural, social, economic, and political effects of technology.

Standard 5: Students will develop an understanding of the effects of technology on the environment.

Standard 6: Students will develop an understanding of the role of society in the development and use of technology.

Standard 7: Students will develop an understanding of the influence of technology on history.


Standard 8: Students will develop an understanding of the attributes of design.

Standard 9: Students will develop an understanding of engineering design.

Standard 10: Students will develop an understanding of the role of troubleshooting, research and development, invention and innovation, and experimentation in problem solving.

Abilities of a Technological World

Standard 11: Students will develop abilities to apply the design process.

Standard 12: Students will develop abilities to use and maintain technological products and systems.

Standard 13: Students will develop abilities to assess the impact of products and systems.

The Designed World

Standard 14: Students will develop an understanding of and be able to select and use medical technologies.

Standard 15: Students will develop an understanding of and be able to select and use agricultural and related biotechnologies.

Standard 16: Students will develop an understanding of and be able to select and use energy and power technologies.

Standard 17: Students will develop an understanding of and be able to select and use information and communication technologies.

Standard 18: Students will develop an understanding of and be able to select and use transportation technologies.

Standard 19: Students will develop an understanding of and be able to select and use manufacturing technologies.

Standard 20: Students will develop an understanding of and be able to select and use construction technologies. 

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Teacher Standards and Practices Commission for the State of Oregon

TSPC specifies standards that must be met by all preservice teachers in general education and special eduction, regardless of the grade levels and subject areas in which they are preparing to teach. These are stated in considerable generality. The word "technology" is only mentioned once in these standards, and the word "computer" or equivalent terms is not mentioned. Here is the first of the five major standards. Notice the mention of "technology in 1e

  1. CURRICULUM PLANNING: Plan instruction that supports student progress in learning and is appropriate for the developmental level.
    1. Select and write learning goals for units of instruction consistent with school's long-term curriculum goals, state content standards and district standards, research findings on how students learn, and mental maturity of students; [Remark: The State of Oregon's Common Curriculum Goals include ICT goals that are remarkably like the ISTE NETS for Students.
    2. Determine the current performance level of one's students with respect to the learning goals established for a unit of instruction;
    3. Establish objectives within the unit of instruction that will be useful in formulating daily lessons and in evaluating the progress of students toward the attainment of unit goals;
    4. Determine content, skills, and processes that assist students in accomplishing desired unit outcomes, and design learning activities leading to mastery;
    5. Select and organize materials, equipment, and technologies needed to teach a unit of instruction;
    6. Adapt unit and lessons plans for students with diverse needs and for students with varying cultural, social, and linguistic backgrounds; and
    7. Estimate the time required within a unit for teacher-directed instruction, student-managed learning and practice, student evaluation/reporting, and reteaching/problem solving.

Item 1a and the following quote are particularly important to ICT uses in education.

…the Technology Common Curriculum Goals were adopted by the Oregon State Board in March 2002:
  1. Demonstrate proficiency in the use of technological tools and devices.
  2. Select and use technology to enhance learning and problem solving.
  3. Access, organize and analyze information to make informed decisions, using one or more technologies.
  4. Use technology in an ethical and legal manner and understand how technology affects society.
  5. Design, prepare and present unique works using technology to communicate information and ideas.
  6. Extend communication and collaboration with peers, experts and other audiences using telecommunications.

The Technology Common Curriculum Goals Website then goes on to explain:

While all schools in Oregon are equipped with technology and most have a technology plan, each school's capacity and resources are different. Consequently school districts may, as some already have, establish their own content standards and benchmarks in technology around their individual needs and resources.

National standards in technology have been developed through a partnership between the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the U.S. Department of Education and a wide variety of curriculum and educational organizations. These national standards as well as input from teachers, technology specialists, administrators, business representatives and professional organizations were used in reviewing and revising Oregon's Technology CCGs.

As noted at the beginning of this section, TSPC Standards are quite general. In addition, the Oregon Common Curriculum Goals are rather general, and they do not provide specific measurable goals and objectives for student achievement. Thus, individual preservice teacher education programs are left with the challenge of determining details of ICT in education knowledge and skills that they want and expect their preservice teachers to be able to demonstrate. The Self-assessment instruments have been designed to provide some help in that endeavor.

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Other Rationale

This is a "miscellaneous, catchall" section. It allows for rather general arguments to support the development and implementation of high ICT in education standards for preservice and inservice teachers. Here are some samples of such arguments:

  1. ICT provides a wide variety of tools that enhance and increase human mental and physical productivity. A person can learn to make an introductory, low level, use of many of these tools with a minimum of formal instruction. However, effective use of these tools requires a significant amount of formal instruction and practice. As an example, elementary school students can easily learn to use single words in a search engine to do Web searches. But, consider the learning and experience needed to make effective use of a search engine such as FreeFind (which can be used to search the specific Website you are currently using):

    1. phrase search

    1. The search engine supports three types of phrase search.

      To match an exact phrase, use quotes around the phrase.

      Example: "free search engine"

      To match a near (within a couple of words) phrase, use square brackets [ ] around the words.

      Example: [free search engine]

      To match a far (within several words) phrase, use braces { } around the words

      Example: {free search engine}

    2. + and - qualifiers

    1. If you prepend a word with + that word is required to be on the page.

      If you prepend a word with - that word is required to not be on the page.

      Example: +always -never

    3. * wildcard

    1. If a query word ends with a * all words on a page which start the same way as that query word will match.

      Example: gift*

    4. ? wildcard

    1. If a query word contains a ? any character will match that position.

      Example: b?g

    5. Boolean search

    1. You can use the following Boolean operators in your search: AND, OR, NOT. These operators MUST be in capital letters.

      Example: (contact AND us) OR (about AND us)

    6. All of the techniques listed above can be combined:

    1. Example: +alway* -ne??r*
  2. It is, of course, trite to say "computers are here to stay." More commonly, now, people argue that ICT is becoming ubiquitous, a routine part of an ordinary person's everyday life. Such ICT enhances the information processing and problem-solving capabilities of its users. However, it takes significant education and experience for an ICT user to move beyond a rather low level of use. Using a microcomputer as a typewriter is indeed a step up from using an electric typewriter. But it is a a small step relative to the capabilities of word processing and desktop publication and other aids to thinking and effective written communication provided by a microcomputer. The same analysis holds for the full range of general tools available in a typical microcomputer system. The goal is to empower students by helping them gain the ICT knowledge and skills that move them well beyond the low level, "first order" uses of ICT. For a discussion of moving beyond the first order, click here.
  3. Computer-Based Assessment and assessment of ICT knowledge and skills are now two important aspects of accountability. Increasingly, high stakes tests will be delivered by computer, using computer-adaptive testing. And, as more and more states, districts, and schools require students to gain ICT knowledge and skills, there need to be appropriate methods to assess the knowledge and skills. Part of this duty falls to the individual classroom teacher.
  4. Many people and organizations have addressed general issues on possible standards for ICT within specific discipline areas. Here are two examples::

    Swan, Karen (1999). Nonprint Media and Technology Literacy Standards for K-12 Teaching and Learning. Accessed 7/22/03: http://cela.albany.edu/standards/index.html. This reference is for a full copy of the preliminary report. The final report was published in Journal of Educational Computing Research, Vol 23 No 1, 2000, p. 85-100.  

    Here is a copy of the abstract of the final report:

    1. This article suggests a set of cumulative standards for assessing the use of non print media and electronic technologies in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. The proposed standards are culled from existing standards created for educational technologies, information literacy, and the English language arts, and are offered as a starting point for thinking about expanding our notions of literacy and literacy instruction in the schools. Most importantly, from this perspective, the standards are categorized as addressing three types of literacies - basic skills, critical literacies, and construction skills - to encourage teachers to incorporate all three when integrating technology use in teaching and learning.

Mills, Steven C. Projects and research: Multimedia Laboratory. Accessed 3/18/04: http://media.lsi.ku.edu/research/index.html. See the article, The Technology Integration Standards Configuration Matrix [PDF]. This is a nice listing of a number of possible areas of ICT expertise and a scale that goes along with each.

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