Examples of Practices Applied in Each of the Assessment Areas

Examples of Practices Applied in Each of the Assessment Areas

The following sections describe how the three practices of Understanding Technological Principles, Developing Solutions and Achieving Goals, and Communicating and Collaborating can be used to classify the general types of thinking and reasoning intended by the assessment targets in the three major assessment areas of Technology and Society, Design and Systems, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Practices Applied in Technology and Society

Assessment targets in the area of Technology and Society are concerned with the effects of technology on human society, the natural world, and the world of information and knowledge as well as with issues of ethics, equity, and responsibility.

Understanding Technological Principles

To provide evidence that they understand principles in these three subareas, students could be asked to perform a variety of tasks, such as recognizing examples of the effects of technologies; identifying examples of ethical and equity issues; describing local and global effects of technologies; explaining the effects of rapidly changing technologies on knowledge creation, access, and management; analyzing beneficial and negative impacts; recognizing examples of responsible, ethical uses of technologies; comparing costs and benefits of technologies; predicting potential impacts on society and the environment; and explaining the relationships among technologies.

Developing Solutions and Achieving Goals

Students must use their understanding of the technological principles for Technology and Society specified in chapter two to apply that knowledge as they address novel issues and problems. To demonstrate their capacity to address issues and problems in the assessment area of Technology and Society, students could be asked, for example, to develop alternative proposals for a new technology based on an analysis of potential positive and negative impacts. Problem solving practices could be demonstrated in a series of tasks and items involved in analyzing the uses of the new technology, gathering data and information on its impacts, analyzing the data, interpreting results, and evaluating alternatives.

Communicating and Collaborating

To communicate and collaborate with others (virtual others in the assessment) in the course to respond to issues, students must draw on their understanding of the technological principles specified in chapter two and apply their knowledge as they work through given problems and issues. For example, to address issues in Technology and Society, students can use a variety of modalities to represent and exchange data, ideas, and arguments about the advantages and disadvantages of technologies. Students can collaborate (virtually) to form teams that will gather and integrate information about the potential impacts of a technology on human society or the natural world. Students can evaluate the qualifications, credibility, and objectivity of virtual experts. Tasks can require students to demonstrate their capability to interact, collaborate, and contribute to work as a team. Students can use various media and representations to share their analyses and recommendations.

Table 3.2 provides some examples of how the 3 practices can be applied to assessment targets for Technology and Society in order to generate tasks and items at the middle school level. The key principles and targets were selected from tables 2.2-2.5 in chapter two. These are sample ideas for items and tasks and will not be used in the actual assessment. Simpler tasks could be developed for grade 4 targets and more complex tasks could be developed for grade 12 targets.

Table 3.2 Examples of grade 8 tasks representing practices in each subarea of Technology and Society


A. Interaction of Technology and Humans

B. Effects of Technology on the Natural World

C. Impacts on the World of Information and Knowledge

D. Ethics, Equity, and Responsibility

Selected Principles & Practices

The relationship between technology and society is reciprocal. Society drives technological change, while changing technologies in turn shape society.

Reusing, recycling, and using fewer resources can reduce environmental impacts.

Information technology is evolving rapidly, enabling ever-increasing amounts of information and data to be stored, managed, enhanced, analyzed, and accessed through a wide array of devices in various media formats.

Technology by itself is neither good nor bad, but its use may affect others.

Understanding Technological Principles

Explain what factors need to go into a decision to change the use of a river and identify possible consequences of doing so.

Identify and provide a rationale for appropriate and inappropriate procedures for disposing of electronic devices.

Compare the impact of geographical information systems and 14th century maps on people's capability to explore new territory.

What are the positive and negative consequences of the predicted change from print to digital news?

Developing Solutions and Achieving Goals

The community has decided to implement a new wind turbine system. Design an investigation into the impact on the community.

Given a specific consumer electronics product such as a cellular telephone, design a new way to increase its appropriate disposal.

Use a simulation to test the adequacy of exit routes for evacuating residents of a mountain town during a wildfire.

What processes and digital tools might the city council put into place in order to make sure all citizens have a say?

Communicating and Collaborating

Collaborate with engineers and urban planners (virtual) through a website to collect and communicate data about the effects of a wind turbine system on the community.

Organize a campaign with a virtual team to inform the public of the dangers of improper disposal of consumer electronic products.

Present a set of images from two artists of the period that represent different perspectives on a major event.

Debate with a virtual team member the privacy and safety issues involved in establishing international projects.