Computer Skills Assessment – Post 2

This is a continuation of the previous post related to the results of the Computer Skills Assessment given to 245 new students at Lake Superior College in September 2009.

Not all of the tasks were as easy as the others. For the following analysis, students were combined into two categories: Confident and Not confident, by combining the top 2 categories into the confident group and the bottom two categories into the not confident group.

The chart below shows how each group performed on each of the individual tasks.

General information about the tasks (survey questions 3-8) are shown below. I’m not going to post the specific tasks since this is an ongoing assessment (don’t post your test online).

Question 3 (task #1) – students must open a web browser to navigate to a website without having a link to click. Students must type the URL into the browser address bar or search for it based on the information given.

Question 4 (task #2) – using a browser, students are instructed to go to the Lake Superior College home page ( and then find some specific information about available financial aid.  There are several different ways that students can navigate to the chosen page and find the answer. You can see from the chart that this question does not differentiate abilities very well.

Question 5 (task #3) – students use a search engine to find a web site based on a description provided. Once the students finds the site they are able to easily find the answer for the question. If a student chooses any of the major search engines they should easily find the website based on the search term given in the question.

Question 6 (task #4) – if the assessment is being administered on-campus in a computer lab (as it was for these 245 students), then the students are asked to search for a file on the hard drive. After finding the file, the answer to the question is the size (in KB) of the file. Using the computer search function is the easiest way to do this exercise, but students could try other techniques including browsing through the various file folders on the computer. You can see from the chart that this was the task with the lowest success rate.

Question 7 (task #5) – students are asked to use Microsoft Word or another word processing program to create a new document. They are asked to enter some text (a small amount) and then format the text in a few different ways. NOTE: this is a very basic attempt at assessing word processing knowledge. The exercise could definitely be longer if time is not a concern.

Question 8 (task #6) – students are given a flash (USB) drive to use during this step (which they get to keep as compensation for their time) and are asked to save the document to the external drive named [your name].doc. (e.g. John Doe.doc).

Question 9 – Thank you for participating in this computer skills test. We would especially value your feedback about this exercise. Do you have any suggestions for ways that we can make it better? Are there any parts of the instructions that you found to be confusing? Anything else you’d like to tell us? (a few of the many responses are shown below)

  • It was nice to learn how to use the flash drive. Thank you very much.
  • Nope, you did good and that’s the most I’ve done on a computer in years! Later
  • The only confusing part was the flash drive.  Which removable disk to save it to.
  • very easy
  • All I can say is Thank you! I have not used a flash drive before this but now I know how.
  • I believe a refresher course would have been good for me personally.
  • This exercise has made me feel better about what I know about computers.
  • This was great it showed me my week points and my strong points. it also showed me I need to be more sure of myself when it comes to computers.

Computer Skills Assessment – Post 1

245 students completed the computer skills assessment during the Fall 2009 Student Success Day at Lake Superior College. All students enrolled in the FYE 1000 classes (First Year Experience) were invited to complete the assessment. To encourage their participation, each student who completed the survey was given a 2 GB USB drive with the LSC logo attached.

Question 1 – How confident are you in your ability to use a computer?

As you can see from the chart, the vast majority of students indicate that they are very or somewhat confident in their computing abilities.

Question 2 – How confident are you in your ability to use email, including sending documents or photos attached to an email?

Very confident = 124  (50.6%)
Somewhat confident = 83  (33.9%)
Not very confident = 29  (11.8%)
Not at all confident = 9  (3.7%)

After those two self-assessment questions there are six tasks that the students are asked to complete. One factor that was analyzed was how many of those six tasks were completed successfully. Based on the data shown below, the self-assessments of computer skills appears to be a fairly accurate predictor of how many tasks a student could complete. (Full statistical analysis not yet completed, Nov. 2009)

  • 92% of the students who indicated that they were “Very confident” in their computer skills (n = 101) either completed 5 of 6 or all 6 of 6 tasks on the computer skills test.
  • 86.2% of the students who indicated that they were “Somewhat confident” in their computer skills (n = 116) either completed 5 of 6 or all 6 of 6 tasks on the computer skills test.
  • 50% of the students who indicated that they were “Not very confident” in their computer skills (n = 20) either completed 5 of 6 or all 6 of 6 tasks on the computer skills test.
  • 12.5% of the students who indicated that they were “Not at all confident” in their computer skills (n = 8 ) either completed 5 of 6 or all 6 of 6 tasks on the computer skills test.

In the next post we’ll take a look at what those 6 tasks are and how well students performed on each of the tasks.

Testing Windows Live Writer

I have previously used LiveWriter from Microsoft, but I just installed the newest version on my Windows 7 PC. The main purpose of this post is to test out the functionality of the blog writer and to see if the integration with my WordPress blog (the one you’re looking at right now) is working properly.

Photo embeds work properly? Let’s see.

Detroit CIT09 052

That’s a mirror shot from my recent trip to Detroit. Not very exciting, I know.

I also installed the “Live” version of Windows Movie Maker. I’ll check that out later and report back on what I find.