On March 6, governing board member Alan Friedman, a science and museum consultant from New York who is working on the tech literacy test for NAGB, talked about how the board is going about that task. A prime challenge is developing a definition that will stand the test of time, Friedman said, so that the test is not outdated within a few years after it's been unveiled.
The significance for us, of course, is that we need to do the same to assess the 21st century skills of the Iowa Core. Friedman's words are true; we can't redo the test every year to meet the realities of changing technology.
What concerns me is that, with NAEP entering this territory, other publishers including Riverside could follow. And, we cannot settle for standardized bubble tests, despite the trend.
Despite the name of the test, Friedman made it clear that goal of the NAEP tech literacy exam is not simply to test students' familiarity with computer products or features, or digital games. The goal is to evaluate their understanding of "interconnections among technologies," with technologies including processes from the designed world, he said. This could include not only computers but technology's relationship to processes such as metallurgy (in the manufacture of buildings, or individual products) or woven textile technology (used to make clothes and fabrics). Of course, computer technology is essential to many manufacturing processes today, noted Friedman, who was joined by Raizen in his presentation. But the point is that students need to have a broader grasp of technology that takes them beyond their computer keyboard, if they're to understand complex scientific issue today.
How does your school do with metallurgy/textile curriculum? Will headlines scream United States ranks even lower in technology compared to the rest of the world?