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ERIC Number: EJ835532
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 25
ISSN: ISSN-1547-9714
A Comparison of Student Perceptions of Their Computer Skills to Their Actual Abilities
Grant, Donna M.; Malloy, Alisha D.; Murphy, Marianne C.
Journal of Information Technology Education, v8 p141-160 2009
In this technology intensive society, most students are required to be proficient in computer skills to compete in today's global job market. These computer skills usually consist of basic to advanced knowledge in word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet applications. In many U.S. states, students are required to demonstrate computer proficiency early in their educational experience by means of passing an assessment test. This research was conducted in North Carolina where all students must pass a computer/technology skills assessment test prior to completing twelfth grade. This study explored U.S. college students' perceived mastery of their computer skills, evaluated their actual scores on a computer skills assessment, and compared the results to realign and enhance an introductory business computer applications course. Two instruments were developed to accomplish the objectives for this research: a survey to capture students' perceptions of their computer proficiency and a computer skills assessment to measure their actual performance. The assessment tool evaluated their knowledge of three computer application skills--word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet--with three levels of proficiency--basic, moderate, and advanced. The survey and assessment instruments were administered to over 200 business students in a medium sized, public university with a required introductory computer applications course. The findings of this study indicate some differences in the students' perception of their word processing skills and actual performance, no difference in perception and performance for their presentation skills, and a significant difference in perception and performance for their spreadsheet skills. As a result of this research, the curriculum for the introductory course was redesigned to concentrate primarily on the substantial skill deficiency in spreadsheet skills while still allowing the students to demonstrate their level of proficiency in word processing and presentation skills through a mandatory online assessment test beginning in fall semester 2008. Any student who does not perform well on the word processing and presentation assessment will be required to obtain additional training to enhance these skills. These findings have important implications for two reasons: 1) schools with a similar profile can possibly replicate the realignment and enhancement of the business computer application course and 2) any school interested in comparing their students' perception of their computer skill proficiency and actual performance on three different levels can apply a modified version of this study. (Contains 9 tables, 1 figure, and 1 footnote.)
Informing Science Institute. 131 Brookhill Court, Santa Rosa, CA 95409. Tel: 707-537-2211; Fax: 480-247-5724; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001