The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has added to its web site a National Education Technology Standards (NETS) for Students Online Technology Assessment to help teachers measure students’ skills in using software applications, and to help measure students’ progress toward meeting these standards. The new addition to the site is the result of a collaboration between ISTE and Microsoft Corp. Each assessment consists of five to 10 activities measuring a number of separate skills, as well as integrated sets of skills, related to a project or problem. Assessments are available for word processing, web authoring, presentations, eMail, spreadsheets, and more. The assessments are designed to be completed within an average of 30 minutes or less, but they are not timed. Individual activities can be repeated, and the assessments can be retaken as many times as needed. Feedback on student performance is provided after each question, and a summary is given at the end. Microsoft and ISTE say their online assessments are more authentic in the sense that they ask students to undertake real-world tasks, in a real-world technological environment, using the same real-world tools students might use to complete these tasks outside of school.

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