The youth Digital Skills Performance Test Results: Report on the results of real-life information navigation and processing, communication and interaction, and content creation and production skills tasks

Alexander J.A.M. van Deursen, Ester van Laar, Ellen Helsper, Luc Schneider

Research output: Book/ReportReportAcademic

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Abstract

This report discusses the results of performance testing to measure digital skill levels among children in six European countries (Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Portugal). Key of performance testing is that participants use the Internet to demonstrate skills. In the present study, children between the ages of 13 to 18 performed real-life tasks to measure their digital skills. The tasks referred to the following three dimensions: (1) information navigation and processing, (2) communication and interaction, and (3) content creation and production skills. Sub-components for the digital skill tasks were derived from ‘The youth Digital Skills Indicator’ (yDSI) (Helsper et al., 2021).

As performance testing is a time- and labour-intensive process, the tests were divided in two modules. In most countries, the modules were performed on the same day in the Spring of 2022. All performance tests were conducted in class at school. In total, 772 children performed module 1 and 705 children module 2 (aiming at minimum 100 participants per country). Each country strived for a balance in gender and in lower and higher SES schools. The primary objective of performance testing is not to obtain a representative sample but to obtain a reliable and valid measurement of digital skills.

This report shows the percentages of children who correctly performed each task and the overall score for the three digital skills. Moreover, attention is paid to country level comparisons and differences between children (e.g., gender, age, and support from family and friends). The results of information navigation and processing skills demonstrate that children experience most difficulties with performing tasks focussed on evaluating information (e.g., selecting the most reliable website, naming the intention of a post). The task performance of communication and interaction skills furthermore demonstrates that what is appropriate and courteous online behaviour is not self-evident for children. With regards to content creation and production skills, many children succeed in uploading a copy-right free image but only a small minority designed a presentation slide according to the pre-established guidelines. Overall, the results raise doubts whether children have sufficient digital skill levels. Factors that often contribute to digital skill levels in large-scale survey research, seem less relevant in performance tests.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherZenodo
Number of pages52
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • yDSI
  • Performance test
  • Digital skills
  • ySKILLS

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