The 2014 National Assessment Program (NAP) – information and communication technology (ICT) literacy report has been released by the Education Council. The NAP – ICT literacy test assesses students ICT knowledge, understanding and skills and their ability to use ICT creatively, critically and responsibly.
Read the full 2014 National Assessment Program (NAP) – information and communication technology (ICT) literacy report on the NAP website
The report shows a significant decline in the mean performance of Year 6 students in 2014, compared to the last assessment in 2011. Similarly, the mean performance of Year 10 students is significantly lower than the mean performance in all previous NAP – ICT literacy assessments (2005, 2008 and 2011). The report also shows that in each year level, there has been a reduction in the percentage of students meeting the NAP – ICT literacy proficient standards.
According to ACARA’s CEO, Robert Randall,” the proficiency standards set in this assessment are challenging but they are reasonable and attainable for Year 6 and Year 10 students.
For example, Year 6 students were asked to:
- search a website to find appropriate material,
- format a document,
- crop an image and
- create a short slide show.
Students in Year 10 were asked to:
- design an online survey,
- use software to add two new levels to an online game
- create a short animated video.
The NAP – ICT Literacy report found large differences in performance at both year levels across categories of parental occupation and parental education:
- Indigenous students performed at lower levels than non-Indigenous students
- Female students performed higher than male students,
- Metropolitan students having the highest achievement scores.
- No significant differences between students who spoke English at home and those who spoke at least one other language.
The results showed a small decline in the frequency of computer use at home between 2011 and 2014, but an increase in the frequency of computer use at school over the same period.
“Generally, students reported the use of study utilities with similar frequency at home and at school, but students in Year 10 reported more frequent use of these types of application than those in Year 6.
Communication applications were reported to be more frequently used at home than at school and were reported as more frequently used by Year 10 students than by Year 6 students.
The use of entertainment applications was more frequent at home than at school. Most students at both year levels indicated that they had learned about important ICT-related topics at school.”
The report concludes that “one of the possible interpretations of the decline in ICT literacy is that the increased use of mobile technology devices has resulted in less emphasis on skills associated with information management and processing but more emphasis on communication applications.
It is also possible that there has been less emphasis placed in schools on the teaching of skills associated with ICT literacy, with the development of young people’s ICT literacy competencies increasingly being taken for granted. Such a shift in emphasis may have contributed to changes in ICT literacy achievement between 2011 and 2014..
“The decline in performance is of concern, and there is a need for a renewed focus on the teaching of digital technologies in schools,” says Mr Randall.
“Schools now have access to the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies, which covers the core aspects of ICT literacy that are vital for students to engage in a world dependent on these technologies for future employment and social interaction.
“We cannot expect students to reach the proficiency standard represented by the NAP – ICT literacy assessment on their own, through a personal use of technology. There is a need for explicit attention on the teaching and learning of knowledge, understanding and skills, which were the subject of this test and which are in the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies.”
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