Students' ICT literacy revealed in new report


Last week, a report by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) found that student performance nationally in ICT literacy has remained stable compared to the previous sample assessments in 2014.

The National Assessment Program (NAP) sample assessment in information and communication technology literacy tests students’ general ICT skills and knowledge in a sample of schools across the country.

ACARA CEO, Robert Randall, said that while the report indicates there hasn’t been any improvement since the last round of testing, it is “early days” in the implementation of the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies.

“As implementation of the digital technologies curriculum continues, we should start to see an impact by the next assessment, in 2020,” Randall said.

However, he pointed out that only a small amount of time is allocated to Digital Technologies.

“It continues to be important for teachers to value ICT capability in all learning areas if we would like to see a significant improvement,” Randall said.

As a part of the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, ACARA has been funded to support the implementation of the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies in some of Australia’s most disadvantaged schools.

More than 160 schools with a low index of community socio-educational advantage (ICSEA) rating are participating in the project, called Digital Technologies in focus (DTiF). DTiF resources to support all teachers can be found on the Australian Curriculum website.

Other findings of the report included:

  • Higher levels of digital device experience were associated with higher levels of ICT literacy, particularly in Year 10.
  • Students’ ratings of the importance of using digital devices were higher in Year 10 than in Year 6, and higher for males than for females.
  • Outside of school, male students were significantly more likely to report using entertainment applications (such as watching videos, playing games and streaming music) than female students. The difference was more marked at Year 10 but was still observable among Year 6 students.
  • For both Year 6 and Year 10, students with lower ICT literacy achievement were more likely to report frequent use of entertainment applications when at school. This was particularly true for students in Year 6 and for male students in both year levels.
  • Lower achieving Year 6 students reported slightly more frequent use of communication applications when at school than higher achieving students did. This was true for both female and male Year 6 students.
  • Of the ICT-related tools for school-related purposes, students at both year levels were most likely to use word-processing software, presentation software and computer-based information resources. These types of software were more frequently used by Year 10 students than Year 6 students.