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Internet use is already assessed with language and mathematics

An international test will measure the ability of students to new electronic formats with an application that simulates the operation of the Web

The student, 15, plays the flash drive in the computer. Here you will find the questions and delving into the computer as if it did on the Internet, you will find clues to answer them . Upon completion, the student will deliver the memory key with the answers, the evaluator. This is the information society and communication entering the Pisa report of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD , a forum for the world’s richest countries), which this year will measure for the first time the abilities of students to manage in the digital age through a reading test in electronic format.

The next May, the boys and girls in 60 countries around the world will again take the test of Pisa report , but with the novelty test electronic reader, which will add to the reviews that have been done so far ( math, science and reading) and that caused many debates in previous editions by the mediocre results obtained by Spain (the notes of this fourth edition will arrive in 2010). Not all countries participating in Pisa 2009 assess their students of this new competition, because it is quite expensive for the technical and human resources required, explains a spokesman for the OECD. They will 17 countries, including Spain, France, Korea and Japan.

For the first time this evaluation will include aspects such as the handling and application of computer tools to solve slogans
For the first time this evaluation will include aspects such as the handling and application of computer tools to solve slogans. Photo: Courtesy extraketchup / Flickr

It is to measure the necessary resources to “access, manage, integrate and evaluate information, construct new knowledge from electronic texts” something “quite different to do with printed texts,” explains the director of Pisa, Andreas Schleicher report. Thus the aim of this test goes beyond mere reading ability, as commonly understood, although “it is not so much about technology, but rather on cognitive skills that are needed for the effective use of technology,” adds Schleicher.

All these explanations are understood very well to know the details of the test. This is not simply read texts that appear on the screen of a computer, but students will have to search for information in an electronic application that simulates Internet and helps answer questions. As you browse the Web, of information to another interconnected, the student will, for example, to navigate to a text, read it, get the information needed to answer and respond through the screen.

“Good readers in digital format should be able to navigate around the texts through explicit information and hyperlinks, in addition to master the tools of Internet browsing, such as menus”, they explained at a conference Juliette Mendelovits, Tom Lumley and Barry McCrae, educational research institute of Cyber Security Portal, which also participates in the digital version of Pisa 2009.

In addition, the test will try to assess whether young people are able to “judge the relevance and correctness of information ( which is necessary to use tools such as Google or Wikipedia ), unlike the use of an encyclopedia where information is already sorted and assumed to be correct , “adds Schleicher. “Of course, all these skills are somehow correlated with the traditional reading, but much less than often assumed , ” continues the director of Pisa. In fact, the results of the test will be offered electronic reading independently of printed reading.

In 2009, only a small number of students will make the digital test (about 2100 of the 25,000 students who will Pisa tests in Spain). They will have 40 minutes to complete 27 questions, unlike the two hours they have to complete tests on paper math, science and reading. Each year the test has more questions about one of them and this time will be reading.