As many LINCS Integrating Technology group members know, digital literacy skills have become increasingly essential to workers at all levels. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 77% of jobs will require some degree of technology skills within the next decade. As workforce centers, Adult Basic Education programs and libraries seek to equip job seekers with the basic skills they need to persist in the workforce, a method of assessing digital literacy is necessary.
The Minnesota Literacy Council’s Northstar Digital Literacy Assessments were developed in response to this community need. Northstar comprehensively defines and tests basic computer and online skills in order to assist with targeted instruction.
Northstar recently passed the milestone of 3.5 million assessments completed. Anyone can take Northstar assessments for free at digitalliteracyassessment.org. Those who wish to earn a certificate to demonstrate their skills to potential employers can take the assessments at one of more than 700 approved testing locations, which include workforce centers, Adult Basic Education programs, libraries, nonprofits, government agencies and businesses in 52 state and regions and 6 countries.
In early September, Northstar rolled out curricula for three of its assessment modules: Basic Computers, Internet Basics, and Microsoft Word. Each unit contains 7-9, two-hour lesson plans for classroom use and a teacher’s guide. While the curricula is only available to subscribers, a selection of curated web-based learning resources is now freely available at https://www.digitalliteracyassessment.org/external-resources.