window into the hopes and fears of people regarding technology that could help guide policy decisions. Policy makers might even decide they should promote efforts to improve technological literacy in this country.

Obstacles to Assessing Technological Literacy

The developers of tools for assessing technological literacy face significant design challenges.

The developers of tools for assessing technological literacy face significant design challenges, an issue much of the rest of this report considers. With enough time and financial support, most of these difficulties can be overcome. Overcoming the obstacles to implementation of assessments, however, will require more than just time and money.

Consider, for example, assessments of the technological literacy of students in grades K–12. Children in elementary and secondary school are already subjected to a battery of standardized tests each year, and there is tremendous and understandable resistance among teachers, school administrators, and parents to giving more tests. The problem is not merely taking one more day out of the schedule to administer a technological literacy test. Once a test is added to the mix, teachers will be expected to “teach to the test” (i.e., to ensure that students have the information they need to do well on the test). Thus, teachers would have to find time in an already packed day to teach about technology.

Resistance to tests for teachers could be even greater. K–12 teachers are generally reluctant to subject themselves to any test that could be perceived as a test of professional competence, and this resistance has been supported by their professional organizations, the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers. Some of this resistance has been overcome by provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (P.L. 107-110), which requires that all teachers be “highly qualified” in the subjects they teach. One way for teachers to meet this requirement is by passing a state-developed assessment (DOEd, 2005). At the post-secondary level, faculty competence is considered the purview of academic departments, which do not usually use standardized tests.

Despite these problems, testing students and teachers, who can be found in one location—their schools—and can be ordered by the school administration to take a test, would be less problematic and complicated than assessing out-of-school adults or the general public. Historically, people have been resistant to surveys of almost any kind. The response rate to surveys is so low that it is very difficult to get a good



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