Multimedia Schools, May/June 1999, p. 16

Personnel at Pittsford Central Schools in Pittsford, N.Y., were able to improve their technology instruction by first giving students a self-assessment survey on technology.

Instructors placed the self-assessment survey online at a free survey engine at After students took the survey online, the site automatically tabulated and graphed the results. Students and instructors alike were then able to view the results of the survey together using a Web browser.

In the survey, students were asked what they thought they already knew about computers, and what computer skills they wanted to learn more about. This was especially helpful in designing the curriculum.

Instructors initially planned to start with word processing and spend the majority of time teaching those skills. But students responded on the self-assessment survey that they had a high degree of confidence in word processing, and that they would prefer to learn about PowerPoint, which they felt they didn’t have enough skills in.

These responses on the self-assessment survey caused the instructors to re-evaluate their curriculum. They restructured the curriculum to match the needs and interests of the students.

A post-instruction self-assessment survey was also conducted. This not only gave the instructors an idea of how much the students were benefiting from the lessons, but also gave students a sense of accomplishment when they were able to respond that they had learned a certain set of skills.