FIGURE ES-1 The three dimensions of technological literacy.

Source: Adapted from NAE and NRC, 2002.

technology, he or she asks questions about risks and benefits and can participate in discussions and debates about the uses of that technology.

The committee does not consider attitude to be a cognitive dimension in the same way knowledge, capability, and critical thinking and decision making are. However, a person’s attitude toward technology can provide a context for interpreting the results of an assessment. In other words, what a person knows—or does not know—about a subject can sometimes be correlated with his or her attitude toward that subject.

Although few assessments have been developed for technological literacy, many good assessment tools have been developed for other subjects, from reading and writing to science and mathematics. Indeed, the field of assessment is mature in many other domains.


Of the many groups that would benefit from the development of assessments of technological literacy, the most obvious is the formal-education community. As more and more states move toward adopting technology-education standards for K–12 students (Meade and Dugger, 2004), schools will have to measure how well they are implementing those standards. Assessments will provide a gauge of how effectively schools promote technological literacy and an indication of where improvements can be made.

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