In this question, the suggested correct answer is E, all of the above. One might disagree with the wording of the answers (e.g., is “language” or the printed word stored on a CD?). But the significant issue is that the question focuses on the superficial aspects of CD technology rather than the underlying concepts, such as that information can take multiple forms and that digitization facilitates the storage, retrieval, and manipulation of data. A correct answer does little more than demonstrate a familiarity with some of the capabilities of one type of data-storage device. Although there is a place in assessments for testing factual knowledge, questions of this type could easily dominate an assessment given the number of technologies about which one might reasonably ask questions. In addition, because of the pace of technological development, narrowly targeted items may quickly become obsolete as one technology replaces another.

Narrowly targeted items may quickly become obsolete as one technology replaces another.

Nearly one-third of the 100 items in the Pupils’ Attitude Toward Technology instrument address the knowledge dimension of technological literacy. The assessment, developed in the 1980s by a Dutch group headed by Marc de Vries, has been used in many countries, including the United States (Bame et al., 1993). The test includes statements with which students are asked to indicate agreement or disagreement. The statements deal with basic and important ideas about the nature of technology, such as the relationship between technology and science, the influence of technology on daily life, and the role of hands-on work in technological development.

High school students and out-of-school adults considering entering the military can choose to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). The ASVAB has eight sections, including items on auto and shop knowledge, mechanics, and knowledge of electronics. Sample items in ASVAB test-preparation books require mostly technical rather than conceptual understanding (e.g., Kaplan, 2003). This reflects the major purpose of the test, which is to identify individuals suited for specialty jobs in the armed forces. ASVAB is notable because it is an online, “adaptive” testing option for adult test takers. In adaptive testing, a right or wrong answer to a question determines the difficulty of the next question.

A group of engineering schools, the Transferable Integrated Design Engineering Education Consortium, has developed an instrument for testing knowledge of the design process (TIDEE, 2002). This is the only assessment in the committee’s analysis explicitly intended for college

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