CNN.com – Exam measures students’ ‘information literacy’ – Feb 3, 2006

CNN.com – Exam measures students’ ‘information literacy’ – Feb 3, 2006

Great! I think that this is a good “assessment” for schools to have…..wait….. “the nonprofit Educational Testing Service…”

Forget it.

ETS = money-maker. I put no faith in this. I wouldn’t mind checking it out though.

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update:

Here is the ETS informational site for the ICT Assessment (http://www.ets.org/ictliteracy). If the demo is any indication this assessment simply sucks. What is this really measuring? When are people going to learn that some abilities should not be measured through standardized assessments.

I have no doubt that there are abilities that “information literate” people possess. There are likely even concepts that they have mastered that they can apply across contexts (represented mostly by different softwares). However, these concepts are inextricably linked to the interface (software) being used. Though, information literate people may be able to move from one software to another with very little effort, it really depends on how standardized the interfaces are. That is where this assessment drops the ball.

ETS has equated information literacy, in this regard, to the ability to use standardized interfaces (see the “search” example). It seems to assume that information literacy exists independantly from information sources (media).

Now, I will, reluctantly, report on the positives. ETS is great at getting at concepts and they are getting better at developing scenarios to get at these concepts. These scenarios do help to assess some of the abilities and concepts that information literate people do possess. In the very same “search” example, the test does throw in some hurdles that test the ability of test-takers to adjust their search strategy in order to find relevant information. This is key.

I could write forever on this topic, but I should probably get back to work….processing information.

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