NAEP Technology and Engineering Literacy (TEL) Assessment

The first-ever NAEP Technology and Engineering Literacy (TEL) assessment is currently under development. In 2014, eighth-grade students who are selected to take NAEP will participate in the assessment. In preparation for this assessment, selected eighth-grade students in 2012 will participate in a TEL tryout of scenario-based tasks on the computer; print out the TEL Task Tryout fact sheet (115K PDF) that participating schools received.

Technology and engineering have become critical components of 21st century life. For generations, students have been taught about technology and have been instructed on how to use various technological devices. However, there are currently no standardized, nationally-representative assessments to provide evidence of what students know about technology and engineering, the roles they play in our lives, and the extent to which students can use technologies and understand how engineers design and develop them.

The 2014 NAEP Technology and Engineering Literacy Framework (3,062K PDF), developed under the guidance of the National Assessment Governing Board, broadly defines technological and engineering literacy as the capacity to use, understand, and evaluate technology as well as to understand technological principles and strategies needed to develop solutions and achieve goals. NAEP frameworks provide the theoretical basis for assessments and describe the types of questions that should be included and how they should be designed and scored

Questions in the TEL assessment will explore, among other things, to what extent students analyze the pros and cons of a proposal to develop a new source of energy, whether students can use the Internet to find and summarize information to solve a problem, and whether students understand how and why new technologies are developed to suit human needs and wants.

The framework directs that students should be assessed in three major areas of technology and engineering literacy:

  • Technology and Society involves the effects that technology has on society and on the natural world and the ethical questions that arise from those effects.
  • Design and Systems covers the nature of technology, the engineering design process by which technologies are developed, and basic principles of dealing with everyday technologies, including maintenance and troubleshooting.
  • Information and Communication Technology includes computers and software learning tools, networking systems and protocols, hand-held digital devices, and other technologies for accessing, creating, and communicating information and for facilitating creative expression.

In all three areas of technology and engineering literacy, students are expected to be able to apply particular ways of thinking and reasoning when approaching a problem. These types of thinking and reasoning are referred to as “practices.”

The framework specifies three kinds of practices that students are expected to demonstrate when responding to test questions:

  • Understanding Technological Principles focuses on how well students are able to make use of their knowledge about technology.
  • Developing Solutions and Achieving Goals refers to students’ systematic use of technological knowledge, tools, and skills to solve problems and achieve goals presented in realistic contexts.
  • Communicating and Collaborating concerns how well students are able to use contemporary technologies to communicate for a variety of purposes and in a variety of ways, working individually or in teams, with peers and experts.

The framework focuses on literacy as the level of knowledge and competencies needed by all students and citizens, that is, students who are literate about technology and engineering can function in a technological society. The focus of the framework is not on whether students have the ability to engineer or produce technology in the professional sense. Therefore, TEL does not address technical knowledge of specific technologies, nor types of engineering expertise taught in specialized courses to prepare some students for postsecondary engineering studies.

The assessment will be completely computer-based. Although many items will be standard multiple-choice questions, other items will be more complex and will allow students to manipulate components of the systems and models that are presented to them.

The TEL task tryout will engage students through the use of multimedia presentations, such as video, audio, and interactive simulations, and will be administered to students entirely on a computer.

Schools selected for the tryout will be asked to designate about 25 to 30 students to participate. TEL will be administered in sessions of up to 15 students each. NAEP staff will bring all necessary materials, including laptop computers, to the school on tryout day.

<>Students will be asked to complete two or three scenario-based tasks on the computer, as well as a brief questionnaire. The tryout will take approximately 90 minutes.</>

U.S. Secretary of Labor Visits SUNY’s Monroe Community College

Highlights $14.6 million grant awarded to SUNY community colleges

For Immediate Release: Monday, September 24, 2012

Contact: David Doyle;; 518-320-1311

Rochester – U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today visited Monroe Community College’s Applied Technologies Center to celebrate and highlight a $14.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to a consortium of State University of New York community colleges.

Secretary Solis was hosted by SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and MCC President Anne M. Kress. Community leaders in business development and advanced manufacturing, as well as elected officials, also took part in the visit.

“This federal support will help grow SUNY’s already powerful capacity to prepare students for careers in high-tech and advanced manufacturing fields where there is such a high demand in New York and across the country,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “Secretary Solis’ visit to Monroe highlights SUNY’s potential to bring these innovative solutions to scale across the state. I applaud our congressional delegation for working so diligently in securing these funds and for their continued partnership and recognition of SUNY’s ability to drive economic development and job growth across New York.”

“Monroe Community College is proud to lead this initiative coordinating all 30 SUNY community colleges in preparing more New Yorkers for viable advanced manufacturing careers,” said Kress. “This investment by the U.S. Department of Labor in our system will help us develop innovative educational programming along career pathways so that individuals can find good jobs today and even better careers tomorrow.”

The grant, issued as part of the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program, will allow the consortium of all SUNY community colleges to design, implement, and deliver a strategic approach to job training and education for high-need industries such as nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing.

“By maximizing the collective power of the system of community colleges, nearly 3,000 displaced workers will return to high-wage, 21st century advanced manufacturing jobs,” said Johanna Duncan-Poitier, SUNY Senior Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges and the Education Pipeline. “This represents yet another avenue for our extensive network of industry partners to work with us in strengthening our state and local economies by creating jobs and hiring right here in New York.”

The Manufacturers Alliance of New York (MANY) and the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY), along with 150 other industry associations and employers across the state, have joined with the SUNY collaborative as key partners to validate curricula, develop and implement learn and earn strategies, raise awareness of the industry sector, and facilitate job placement. Manufacturers of all sizes and their representing associations will be involved from project design to implementation to placement and employment for eligible workers.

The grant is part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, which promotes skills development and employment opportunities in fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, as well as science, technology, engineering and math careers through partnerships between training providers and local employers.

About the State University of New York

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