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Minggu, 24 Mei 2015

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Literacy: Integration and Assessment in Higher Education

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Literacy: Integration and Assessment in Higher Education Irvin R. KATZ Educational Testing Service Princeton, NJ 08541 USA Alexius Smith MACKLIN Purdue University West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA ABSTRACT Despite coming of age with the Internet and other technology, many college students lack the information and communication technology (ICT) literacy skills—locating, evaluating, and communicating information—necessary to navigate and use the overabundance of information available today. This paper presents a study of the validity of a simulations-based assessment of ICT literacy skills. Our overall goals for the assessment are to support ICT literacy instructional initiatives at colleges and universities. Keywords: Higher Education, ICT Literacy, Information Literacy, Instructional Initiatives, Psychometrics, Validity INTRODUCTION Discussions of Information Technology in Education typically emphasize the Technology rather than the Information. Widespread technology has meant that people encounter more information, in a greater variety of formats, than ever before. Technology is the portal through which we interact with information, but people’s ability to handle information—to solve problems and think critically about information—tells us more about their future success than their knowledge of specific hardware or software. These skills—known as Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Literacy—comprise a 21st century form of literacy, in which researching and communicating information via digital environments are as important as reading and writing were in earlier centuries. ICT literate students master content faster, are better problem-solvers, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over learning [1]. Beyond the classroom, ICT literacy is essential for being productive citizens in a knowledge-driven society [16], and employers want their employees to have these skills [6]. As a result, college and university administrators are beginning to require them as competencies for graduation. This focus has led to campus-wide initiatives (e.g., [3], [15]) to improve students’ ICT literacy. However, there are several challenges to designing and implementing effective ICT literacy instruction. First, students in higher education often believe themselves to be competent users of information resources because of their daily interactions with the Internet [13]. This can lead to disinterest in learning skills to improve their use of search engines and electronic research databases. Second, the ease of transferring between social and academic environments, using the same technology, can cause disruptions in classroom activity. For example, anecdotal evidence suggests that students receiving ICT literacy instruction in a computer lab frequently disengage and go off-task by reading their email and instant messaging their friends, playing games, or searching something of interest to them. These behaviors indicate that current instruction strategies are inefficient in meeting students’ perceived needs and equally lacking in an engaging delivery method. Finally, without effective assessment it is difficult to know if instructional programs are paying off – are students’ ICT literacy skills improving? Educators who accept the challenge of teaching ICT literacy skills must be prepared to: • Find a strategy to reach the user who believes she is already proficient • Make the learning relevant to the user’s needs, including using the technologies the student already knows, to anchor the learning in something familiar • Create active learning opportunities to keep the students on task • Assess the impact of instruction on student-learning outcomes This paper describes the ICT Literacy Assessment, developed by Educational Testing Service (ETS), an Internet-based assessment of ICT literacy skills. The assessment was designed to support instructional efforts in ICT literacy by providing data on students’ skills that can help inform decisions for instituting and evaluating information literacy programs. ETS ICT LITERACY ASSESSMENT In January 2001, ETS convened an International ICT Literacy Panel to study the growing importance of existing and emerging information and communication technologies and their relationship to literacy. The members agreed that little was being done to address critical ICT literacy skills in higher education [7]. In response, a consortium of experts in ICT literacy assembled to advise ETS test developers as in the design of an Internet-delivered assessment that measures students’ abilities to research, organize, and communicate information using technology [9].
ICT LITERACY ASSESSMENT SCORES AND ICT LITERACY SKILLS
 Before using an assessment to support instructional initiatives, there should be evidence of its validity. In this section, we present an investigation into the validity of the ICT Literacy Assessment: the extent to which scores on the assessment reflect students’ ICT literacy skills. A common approach to validating an assessment is to administer the assessment and other measures to a sample drawn from the population of interest (e.g., college students). Convergent validity is supported if assessment scores correlate with other measures expected to be related to ICT literacy. Discriminant validity is supported if scores do not correlate with measures thought to be distinct from ICT literacy. In this study, comparison measures were developed from questionnaires administered to test-takers before they completed the ICT Literacy Assessment. Participants Participants were 4048 undergraduate students recruited in January 2005 to take the ETS ICT Literacy Assessment. The students represented 30 college and university campuses, primarily in the western United States. Students were recruited at their local campuses and all data were collected at the campuses. All but two campuses recruited using a convenience sample.
of the ICT Literacy Large Scale Assessment delivered in early 2005 was to describe the ICT literacy levels of a student population or group in the aggregate (no individual scores). The assessment was delivered using a spiraled design, wherein each participant received tasks that targeted two of the seven proficiencies. Samples of students at each campus were distributed evenly across forms. Raw scores for each test form were separately scaled to a mean of 150 and standard deviation of 35. To simplify analyses, each student’s score is 52 SYSTEMICS, CYBERNETICS AND INFORMATICS VOLUME 5 - NUMBER 4 ISSN: 1690-4524 treated equally, regardless of the particular test form received. This equating across forms is justified by preliminary analyses that showed high (mid .80s) intercorrelations among the seven ICT literacy proficiency scores. Because of the spiraled design, reliability metrics could not be calculated. However, in other administrations of comprehensive test forms (all proficiencies represented) that contained fewer assessment tasks, Cronbach alpha reliabilities were .85 and higher. Self-report measures. Three types of self-report measures were developed from the demographic and academic experiences questionnaire administered prior to the ICT Literacy Assessment. Table 4 provides more details on the measures as well as descriptive statistics. 1. Self Assessment measures gauged students’ reports of their abilities with activities and skills related to ICT literacy. Self-assessments have been used both for academic and workplace competencies as an alternative to objective testing (e.g., [2]), in comparison with others’ judgments, and to validate objective measures (see [14], for a review). Research on self-assessment measures have revealed moderate correlations (mid .20s to mid .30s) between selfassessment and performance measures (e.g., [11], [12]), although correlations differ by domain and self-assessment instrument. 2. Self sufficiency measures provide insights into students’ capabilities for self-directed learning. ICT literate students identify their own need for information (e.g., “I need to learn about…”) and can locate appropriate sources for meeting those needs. Thus, ICT literate students should be able to take greater responsibility for their own learning, having the skills to figure out information problems they encounter on their own (or, at least, know where to go to find answers). Several authors posit a correspondence between ICT literacy and selfdirected learning (e.g., [4]), although we are not aware of any empirical studies investigating this connection. 3. Academic performance measures reflect students’ general academic performance (GPA). Any investigation into the validity of an assessment must investigate whether the instrument assesses the skills of interest rather than reflecting only general academic performance (i.e., good students tend to score better on a wide range of assessments). Of course, some connection between ICT literacy and academic ability is to be expected. For example, better students might be more likely to recognize the importance of ICT literacy skills for their academic and workplace careers. Results and Discussion Correlations between the self-report measures and ICT literacy scores are shown in Table 3. Except for frequency of ICT literacy activities, all measures correlate significantly with performance on the ICT Literacy Assessment, supporting the convergent validity of the assessment. The correlations are at a level consistent with research comparing self-report measures of skills to assessment scores (e.g., [11]). GPA correlated only weakly with the self-assessment and self sufficiency measures (not shown, but all rs close to zero). Thus, ICT literacy confidence and self-sufficiency are each distinct from academic performance even though, as just stated, all three measures contribute to ICT literacy skill. (i.e., correlate with ICT literacy scores).
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