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How the EPE Research Center Graded the States

March 21, 2008 3 min read
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For the Technology Leaders section of Technology Counts 2008, the EPE Research Center collected data on 14 indicators spanning three major areas of state technology policy and practice: access, use, and capacity. Data on access to technology were derived from a 2005-06 survey conducted by Market Data Retrieval and from background questionnaires administered as part of the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress in mathematics. Information on technology use and capacity was obtained from a survey of technology officials from state departments of education in the 50 states and the District of Columbia conducted by the EPE Research Center in the fall of 2007.

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How the EPE Research Center Graded the States

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State information in each of these three categories was evaluated in order to determine an overall state grade for technology leadership. First, points were assigned to each column of data or information using the criteria described below. Then, point subtotals were generated for each of the three technology-leadership areas: access, use, and capacity. Finally, each state’s total score was calculated by taking the average of the scores for the three individual categories. Overall letter grades were assigned based on the following scale: 93 to 100 percent = A; 90 to 92 percent = A-minus; 87 to 89 percent = Bplus; 83 to 86 percent = B; 80 to 82 percent = B-minus; 77 to 79 percent = C-plus; 73 to 76 percent = C; 70 to 72 percent = C-minus; 67 to 69 percent = D-plus; 63 to 66 percent = D; 60 to 62 percent = D-minus; below 60 percent = F. Because of changes in two of the technologyaccess indicators, grades for 2008 are not comparable with those for the prior year. Here, in greater detail, is how we graded the states in the Technology Leaders section:

Technology Leaders

Weighting: Access to technology, use of technology, and capacity to use technology each account for one-third of the overall state grade.

Access to Technology: To calculate the access-to-technology subscore, the states were first ranked on each of four indicators. The specific indicators are as follows: percent of 4th grade students with access to computers; percent of 8th grade students with access to computers; students per instructional computer; and students per high-speed Internet-connected computer. The states were then divided into approximate quintiles. The top 10 states received an A for the column, the next 10 states received a B, the next 11 received a C, the next 10 a D, and the bottom 10 states an F. An A was awarded 100 points; a B, 85 points; a C, 75 points; a D, 65 points; and an F, 59 points. The scores for the four indicators were averaged and account for one-third of the overall grade.

Use of Technology: The use-of-technology subscore is based on four individual state-policy indicators. The specific policy measures are as follows: state standards for students include technology; state tests students on technology; state has established a virtual school; and state offers computer-based student assessments. States with a particular policy in place are indicated by a check mark in the table and received an A (100 points). Otherwise, the state received an F (59 points). The four resulting scores were averaged and represent one-third of the overall grade.

Capacity to Use Technology: The capacity-to-use-technology subscore is based on six individual state-policy indicators. The specific policy measures are as follows: state standards include technology for teachers; state standards include technology for administrators; state requires technology coursework or a test for initial teacher licensure; state requires technology coursework or a test for initial administrator licensure; state requires technology training or a technology test for recertification, or requires participation in technology-related professional development for teachers; and state requires technology training or a technology test for recertification, or requires participation in technology-related professional development for administrators. States with a particular policy in place are indicated by a check mark in the table and received an A (100 points). Otherwise, the state received an F (59 points). The six resulting scores were averaged and represent one-third of the overall grade.

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