ways of thinking and acting (renamed “critical thinking and decision making”)—as the cognitive levels, that is, the three column heads. For each cognitive level, there are four content areas, the row heads: technology and society; design; products and systems; and characteristics, core concepts, and connections.

The proposed matrix is intended to be a starting point for designers of assessment frameworks for technological literacy. The committee recognizes that a number of other arrangements of content are possible.

General Principles

After reviewing existing assessment instruments and the literature on assessment, cognition, and technological literacy; consulting with a variety of stakeholders; and drawing upon the expertise of committee members, the committee developed the following general principles to guide the development of assessments of technological literacy for students, teachers, and out-of-school adults:

  1. Assessments should be designed with a clear purpose in mind.

  2. Assessment developers should take into account research findings related to how children and adults learn, including how they learn about technology.

  3. The content of an assessment should be based on rigorously developed learning standards.

  4. Assessments should provide information about all three dimensions of technological literacy—knowledge, capabilities, and critical thinking and decision making.

  5. Assessments should not reflect gender, culture, or socioeconomic bias.

  6. Assessments should be accessible to people with mental or physical disabilities.

Findings and Recommendations

In addition to these general principles, the committee developed findings and 12 related recommendations that address five critical areas (Table ES-1): instrument development; research on learning; computer-based assessment methods; framework development; and public perceptions of technology.

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