To the Editor:
How satisfying to read that the National Assessment of Educational Progress in reading is being revised (“Reading NAEP Trend Line Could Be Severed,” June 6, 2007). But how discomforting to learn that it will include items that ask students to read such informational documents as bus schedules. And still there is no assessment of our students’ ability to use, for example, the Internet to find, evaluate, synthesize, and present information.
Other countries are ensuring that their children learn to use computers, the Internet, and similar essential tools in school, especially students who do not have access to them at home. These “new literacies” present completely different challenges from print as we have known it. We must ensure that U.S. schools and teachers are equipped to use technology in the classroom by providing access and staff development, and then we must assess their work in this area. The states have neglected these responsibilities, and the federal government is just as nearsighted.
Mary Ellen Levin
Assistant Professor of Education
A version of this article appeared in the June 20, 2007 edition of Education Week as Include Internet Skills in Reading NAEP Revisions