The ‘digital natives’ and ICT literacy

5 Dec 2012

Gerry White discusses the latest NAPLAN results and the idea of digital natives and learning information communication technologies in DERN.


The third cycle of the National Assessment Program – Information and Communications Technologies (NAP – ICT) Literacywas conducted by ACER for the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority in October 2011. It reveals the level of ICT literacy among Australian school students in 2011 and reports changes in ICT literacy since the first cycle of NAP – ICT in 2005 and the second in 2008.

A nationally representative sample of approximately 5700 students from Year 6 and 5300 students from Year 10 sampled randomly from 649 schools completed the assessment.

Proficiency in ICT literacy

The 2011 assessment measured literacy against Proficient Standards established in 2005 for Year 6 and Year 10. The Proficient Standards represent ‘challenging but reasonable’ expectations for typical Year 6 and 10 students to have reached.

A Year 6 student at Proficient Standard can:generate simple general search questions, retrieve information from given electronic sources to answer specific questions, assemble information, and use conventionally recognised software commands. A Year 10 student at Proficient Standard can: generate well targeted searches, create information products, and recognise situations in which ICT misuse may occur and explain how specific protocols can prevent this.

Changes in ICT literacy from 2005 to 2011

In 2011 the average score for Year 6 students was 435 scale points. This represents a steady increase on the national average scores of 419 in 2008 and 400 for the first NAP-ICT Literacy in 2005. The average score for Year 10 students remained stable over the six years from 2005 to 2011.

Change in students’ ICT literacy from 2005 to 2011 can also be seen in the percentage of students who attained the Proficient Standard. In 2011, 62 per cent of Year 6 students reached or exceeded the Year 6 Proficient Standard compared to 49 per cent in 2005, and 57 per cent in 2008. For Year 10 students, 65 per cent reached or exceeded the Year 10 Proficient Standard in 2011, up slightly on 61 per cent in 2005.




Gerry White is Principal Research Fellow: Teaching & Learning using Digital Technologies, Australian Council for Educational Research

This article was first published on the Digital Education Research Network 2 (DERN) and is reproduced here in whole, courtesy of DERN.


Image: Flickr / nudevinyl


Publication Details
Published year only: 
Subject Areas
Geographic Coverage