No child technologically left behind?

While many states have focused on NCLB's core requirements, a few states are leading the way in tech proficiency.
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It's not just in math, science and language that no child should be left behind, notes eSchool News. The law also has technical literacy as a goal, although not a requirement. "Unlike the law's mandates in the core curriculum areas, there are no testing requirements or accountability measures when it comes to ensuring technology literacy. Instead, states merely must certify that they are working to meet the law's tech-literacy goals."

That squishiness means that technical literacy rates vary widely from state to state. 

The extent to which states are working to meet these goals is "definitely all over the board," said Melinda George, executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA). "The way the law is written is that it's a goal, not a requirement, although states are required to certify that they are working toward that goal."

George said a big issue for states is whether to handle the tech literacy requirement at the state or district level. Most states are asking districts to define technology literacy for themselves and then confirm that their students are acquiring it, she said. But a growing number of states are implementing statewide assessments to measure students' tech proficiency.

"The last time we asked our members about tech literacy was the spring of 2004, and at that time most states were asking their districts to document or provide proof that they were making progress [on technology literacy]," George said. "States [also] are continuing to explore statewide tech assessments, as is the case with Arizona and Hawaii."

One state that is creating a serious tech learning program is Arizona.

[Through a contract with Learning.com,] the state will administer pilot tests to at least 25,000 fifth- and eighth-graders by the end of June, targeting districts and charter schools that receive federal ed-tech grants.

"Our students are facing a much different workplace than the one we entered," said Cathy Poplin, educational technology director for the state. "Technology has transformed business and increased the complexity of the workplace. Competition for skilled jobs today has increased greatly, and we need to help our students to become tech literate. Technology used properly in the classroom can engage and motivate student learning in a variety of ways."

Hawaii's another. The island state has signed a contract with Certiport to implement a statewide Computer Literacy Certification System for all eighth graders.


David Saedi, chief executive officer of Certiport, said the company's technology assessment program is being used to some degree in all 50 states. He added that tech literacy awareness is on most states' radar.

"About seven states are leading this whole charge, and the rest of the states are all focusing on some aspects like professional development with teachers," said Saedi. . . . "States like North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Utah are leading [the trend]," he said. "[Each move is] prompted by NCLB, obviously, because virtually every state has struggled with how to measure progress."


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