Digital Literacy

Oregon Elementary Schools Can Test Students' Digital Skills for Free

Next year, every Oregon school district will be able to evaluate the technology skills of their fifth-graders at no cost to themselves.

Through a partnership between the Oregon Elementary School Principals Association (OESPA) and, a Portland-based software developer that helps schools give their K-12 students the digital skills they need, districts will be able to use the latter's TechLiteracy Skills Inventory for free.

"While today's students may know how to tap, swipe and Google, it is also critical that they have the skills necessary to use technology for learning," said OESPA President Ericka Guynes, who is also a principal at Earl Boyles Elementary School. "I hope that all Oregon's elementary schools will consider taking advantage of this great opportunity."

The assessment tool is designed to determine whether students have the technology skills necessary to successfully complete online tests. The Web-based tools can determine, for instance, whether students have the ability to use spreadsheets, word processing, databases and the Internet. It can also deliver reports on the skills of specific students, classes, schools and districts so that administrators and teachers can adjust their teaching programs to help the students.

"It is projected that by 2020 technology skills will be needed in more than half of all jobs, so it is crucial that students begin to develop those skills as early as possible," said CEO Keith Oelrich.

Oregon teachers can go online until February 19 to enroll their fifth-grade classes for the assessments that can be administered any time between January 4 and June 17. All Oregon administrators and teachers will be able to participate in a free training webinar that will explain how to deliver and interpret the skills inventory.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.