some level by knowledge. Conversely, the doing component of technological literacy invariably leads to a new understanding of certain aspects of the technological world. This complex, but more accurate, idea can be represented in a number of ways. For example, the three dimensions of technological literacy can be represented as interlocking circular strands (Figure 2-2).
Once a definition of technological literacy has been developed, the next challenge, and the subject of the remainder of this report, is how to assess it. The assessment technique depends largely on the definition, and, conversely, the specifics of the definition depend on the type of assessment. An NRC report published in 2001, Knowing What Students Know: The Science and Design of Educational Assessment, contains a wealth of information about assessment practices generally as well as a discussion of the current status of educational assessments. The authors note, for instance, that assessments are used for three different purposes, “to assist learning, to measure individual achievement, and to evaluate programs” (NRC, 2001). The purpose of an assessment determines how the assessment is designed. As the authors point out, an assessment can be designed for more than one purpose—to measure the progress of individual students and the effectiveness of a program, for instance—but satisfying both goals inevitably requires compromises and trade-offs.