This is normally the time of year where we start getting results from all the standardized tests of the previous year. With that comes the think pieces about how US students are trailing countries like Singapore and Finland in math and science. Though we have become accustomed to hearing about the math and science gap, the one place you would think America still comes out ahead is in technology.
You would be wrong.
According to the results of the International Computer and Information Literacy Study, American students can do simple tasks on a computer but are missing the more sophisticated skills that we typically associate with being a digital citizen. Education Dive summarizes the findings:
U.S. 8th graders can use computers to gather basic information and make simple edits. They also have some awareness of security risks in the digital world. But they’re less likely to understand the purpose of sponsored content on a website, use generic mapping software or know how to control color and text when creating a presentation.
It should also come as no surprise the study found gaps between socioeconomic classes as well. This gap was present for all countries, not just the United States.
These results may be a shock to many because most US students would identify as digital natives. This study seems to indicate students don’t gain sophisticated digital skills just by nature of their proximity to technology.
This is a red flag as most of the new jobs being created today are tech jobs. Additionally, the advent of technology has made the world a much smaller place and US students are not just competing with each other for those jobs. It seems that just like in math and science, the US has some catching up to do.