Computer competencies of high school seniors in the state of Utah
Sherri Lee Arosteguy, Utah State University, United States
Utah State University . Awarded
The purpose of this study was to identify and measure computer-related competencies of 12th-grade students attending Utah public high schools and to describe relationships between students' computer-related competencies and selected student characteristics. This study included 975 students from a stratified sampling of small, medium, and large high schools. Proportional clusters of students were drawn from senior-level general education courses in each high school. Two instruments were developed for this study: an objective test to assess students' computer-related competencies and a questionnaire to identify characteristics including gender, grade point average, college plans, computer access and use, attitudes about computers, and frequently used software.
Students correctly answered an average of 46% of the questions regarding computer-related competencies, indicating that students do not have an adequate understanding of computer systems, software applications, and ethical uses of computers. Statistically significant differences were found in scores among the main effects of gender, school size, computer access, and college plans. These results support the contention that computer-related competencies do vary among different groups of students. The findings regarding instructional use of computers indicate that students have had limited formal instruction about computer systems, ethical uses of computers, and computer application software. A majority of students have taken keyboarding or word processing courses; however, less than 25% reported they had taken computer applications, programming, desktop publishing, or computer-aided design courses. Students reported most frequent instructional use of computers occurs in humanities and social studies courses. Word processing and Internet software for writing and research activities were the most common computer-related software and activities reported. Positive associations were found between test scores and amount of computer instruction received, attitudes about computers, and academic achievement. Students appear to have access to and use of current software applications, although the majority have limited understanding or knowledge about the software they are using. More than 40% could not identify operating system or word processing software; even fewer could identify spreadsheet, database, multimedia, or Internet browser software.
Arosteguy, S.L. Computer competencies of high school seniors in the state of Utah. Ph.D. thesis, Utah State University.
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