December 12, 2011

Assessing the IT Skills of College Students

This text was initially published by Profweb under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International licence, before Eductive was launched.

You may have heard about the project CERTITUDE. This is an inter-level project funded by MELS (Ministère de l’Éducation du Loisir et du Sport) to assess the IT skills of college students in a self-evaluating environment. This assessment tool when developed will measure IT and other technological skills based on the directories established for the IT Student Exit Profile of the IT Representatives’ Network and the Magellan Profile of Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf. The tool also takes into account the recommendations of the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities CREPUQ).

A Small Timeline to Explain the Project’s Origins :

  • In 1999, CREPUQ recognized the importance of mastering information technology in the pursuit of university studies.
  • In 2003, Collège Jean-de-Brebeuf developed the Magellan IT Exit Profile which could be adapted to a student’s field of study.
  • In 2004, Magellan certification is recognized by the University of Montreal.
  • Also in 2004, the IT Representatives’ Network began to develop its ICT.
  • Exit Profile for college students.
  • In 2008, a committee of the CREPUQ defined the level of computer literacy to be achieved for a student entering university.
  • In 2009, MELS provided funding to the CERTITUDE project team which is composed of representatives from the University of Montreal, Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf, Cégep@distance, Mati-Montreal and HEC Montreal.
  • In 2010-2011, a prototype online assessment is developed and tested using an initial bank of questions tailored to the pre-university programs for Sciences de la nature and Sciences humaines.

Testing a Method for Online Evaluation

Projet certitude

Certitude’s Interface on Adobe Captivate. Click image to enlarge for more detail.

In May 2011, experiments were conducted with 81 volunteer students from Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf, the Cégep de Victoriaville and Cégep Marie-Victorin. An assessment tool was designed to measure the mastery of skills related to word processing, spreadsheets and information research as well as mastery of a digital work environment. The software used to develop the platform was Adobe Captivate because of its ability to produce interactive questions focusing on scenarios, simulations, multimedia statements and treasure hunts that necessitate the use of research tools and software commonly found in colleges. Currently, as the project is looking to create customized assessments from a question bank, a new environment had to be selected, namely the online learning platform o-tutor. Student IT Profiles are directly integrated into the question bank interface.

Collaborative Research

Although this project’s original concept is of interest, another feature is that it can be used as an assessment tool. It is now possible to use CERTITUDE as such a resource for pre-university programs in Sciences humaines, Sciences de la nature, and Arts et Lettres. Questions for diagnostic assessments are designed to create customized evaluations as well.

Even better, it is possible to be paid to contribute to the question banks in one or more of the following categories :

  • Digital work environment
  • Information research
  • Text editing
  • Spreadsheets
  • Multimedia and graphics

Those interested can register now at : The space for collaboration and access to the CERTITUDE environment will be made available to each editor between January and May 2012. A first team meeting is scheduled for mid-January. An English language interface is planned for a later phase of the project.

How are college students using ICT skills? Which of these skills are particularly important within your discipline

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