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New NAEP in Technology, Engineering Expected in 2014

This may be old news to some readers, but I've been meaning to blog about plans under way by the producers of the "nation's report card" to introduce a brand-new national exam in "technology and engineering literacy." The new exam is to first be administered in 2014.

As you may know, this comes at a time when those subjects have been drawing increased attention, and are part of the acronym some people love (or at least embrace/accept) and other people love to hate: STEM, as in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

When I was reporting on the latest NAEP results in science, I heard repeatedly from folks about this new exam, though it's been in the works for quite some time. You can get access to a copy of the framework here.

Alan Friedman, a member of the National Assessment Governing Board and former head of the New York Hall of Science, enthused about the planned exam in a recent interview.

"I think it's going to be incredibly important and exciting," he said, noting that it will emphasize a "hands-on" approach and be entirely "computer-based."

"I think we have overemphasized science at the expense of engineering and technology," he added.

Students will be assessed in three major areas of technology and engineering literacy, according to a press release issued last year from the National Center for Education Statistics:

Technology and Society involves the effects that technology has on society and on the natural world and the ethical questions that arise from those effects;

Design and Systems covers the nature of technology, the engineering design process by which technologies are developed, and basic principles of dealing with everyday technologies, including maintenance and troubleshooting; and

Information and Communication Technology includes computers and software learning tools, networking systems and protocols, hand-held digital devices, and other technologies for accessing, creating, and communicating information and for facilitating creative expression.

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