of Computer Skills
(For Students Who Entered
Grade 8 From 1996-1997
Acrobat version of this document
in both student handbooks, including sample test items, electronic
files, etc. must not be used for personal or financial gain. North
Carolina LEA/school officials, teachers, parents, and students may
download and duplicate the handbooks and electronic files for instructional
and educational purposes only. Others may not duplicate the handbooks
without prior written permission from the NCDPI Division of Accountability
Questions About the Computer Skills
Contents of the Computer Skills Test
How to Take the Computer Skills Test
Multiple Choice Sample Test Questions
Performance Sample Test Questions
required of citizens in an Information Age have been
the topic of major education initiatives, political campaigns, and
presentations in the mass media. Although various groups use slightly
different terms to describe them, there is general agreement that
competencies for the workplace of the twenty-first century differ
from those required at the end of the industrial era. As prediction
after prediction for the twenty-first century has been made, the
role of technologyspecifically of computer systemsremains
a primary focus.
May 1991, the North Carolina State Board of Education, as part of
the Quality Assurance Program, established a computer proficiency
requirement for graduation that was to begin with the class of 2000.
In October 1995, the Board modified the requirement by making it
effective beginning with the graduating class of 2001. Students
who were in the eighth grade during the 19961997 school year
and thereafter must meet the computer proficiency requirement in
order to receive a high school diploma.
students who entered grade 8 from the 19961997 school year
through the 19992000 school year, the requirement is based
on the 1992 computer skills curriculum as defined in the North Carolina
Standard Course of Study. The goal of a computer skills requirement
is to foster skill development so that students have sufficient
computer skills for use in high school, at home, and in the workplace.
computer skills curriculum has three major goals. The first goal
is for students to understand the important issues of a technology-based
society and to exhibit ethical behavior in the use of computer technology.
Second, students must demonstrate knowledge and skills in using
computer technology. Finally, students should be able to use a
variety of computer technologies to access, analyze, interpret,
synthesize, apply, and communicate information.
computer skills curriculum should be introduced collaboratively
by classroom teachers, media coordinators, and computer resource
teachers. The results of a carefully planned computer skills program
will be students who are problem solvers, information seekers and
users, and effective communicators. These students will be prepared
for a technology-filled twenty-first century.
handbook has been prepared as a resource for students, parents,
and teachers to provide information about the computer skills proficiency
requirement for graduation and its implications for students who
entered grade 8 from the 19961997 school year through the
19992000 school year. In addition, this handbook provides
information on what the tests are like, some test-taking strategies,
and sample questions with the correct answers and notes. The information
contained within this document should assist
students in acquiring a better understanding of the computer skills
proficiency requirement as one standard students must meet to receive
a North Carolina high school diploma.
Students with disabilities who are following the Occupational Course
of Study show computer proficiency as specified in the Individualized
Education Program (IEP).
about the Computer Skills Requirement
What is the computer skills requirement?
are required to demonstrate proficiency in the skills and competencies
of the K8 computer skills curriculum for a high school diploma.
This requirement is met by passing the North Carolina Tests of Computer
Skills. If you entered the eighth grade from 19961997 through
19992000, the computer skills tests will measure the goals
and objectives of the 1992 computer skills curriculum as defined
in the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.
Who has to take the tests?
Students who entered the eighth grade during the 19961997
school year and thereafter must demonstrate computer proficiency
as a graduation requirement.
How, when, and where will I take the computer skills tests?
You will be given the opportunity to demonstrate computer skills
proficiency beginning at grade eight. A guidance counselor or teacher
will tell you about the test schedule. Your tests will be given
at your school and will not cost money.
How do I complete the computer proficiency requirement?
The requirement is met by passing the computer skills tests independently
of each other. Each student must take and pass a multiple-choice
test and a performance test. The performance test requires students
to demonstrate the use of a computer.
How will I know if I have passed the tests?
Your guidance counselor or teacher will tell you if you pass.
You will receive an individual student report with your test scores.
Each student must receive a score of 47 or higher on the multiple-choice
test and a score of 49 or higher on the performance test.
What happens if I do not pass the multiple-choice test by one point?
multiple-choice answer sheets are scored by your local school district.
If a student fails the multiple-choice test by one point, the school
system hand checks the answer sheet. Once you receive the test
score, the school system stores the answer sheet in a secure locked
location for six months. At the end of six months, the answer sheet
is destroyed or recycled. You must take the multiple-choice test
again if you do not pass.
What happens if I do not pass the performance test by one point?
A contractor is used to score the performance test. Two independent
readers score each performance test. If a student fails the performance
test by one point, a third person scores the test. You must take
the performance test again if you do not pass.
May I take both tests on the same day?
It is not recommended that both tests be given on the same day.
The multiple-choice test takes about 105 minutes to complete; the
performance test takes about 90 minutes to complete.
Why do we have a computer skills requirement?
We want to be sure that each student has sufficient computer skills
to use at school and for personal use.
What if I don’t pass the tests in the eighth grade?
You will be given at least one opportunity each year to take the
test or tests that you do not pass. Your school will provide you
with the opportunity to receive extra help to develop your computer
What if I pass one test but not the other?
You will need to re-take only the test that you did not pass.
Will the same test be given every session?
No. Different forms of the tests will be given. The objectives measured
and the difficulty levels of the different forms will be the same.
What type of computer may I use to take the performance test?
A: You will use the equipment in your school. With appropriate
software, the test diskettes will work with Macintosh, DOS, or Windows-based
How can I prepare for the tests?
Take the sample test in this handbook and check your answers.
Contact your guidance counselor or teacher if you have questions.
Are there other testing requirements for graduation?
Yes. Each student must meet the competency standard in reading and
mathematics(1). In addition, you must meet other state and local
requirements. Check with your school guidance counselor when planning
your high school courses to find out what the local and state graduation
first opportunity to meet this requirement is at the eighth grade.
Contact your guidance counselor for more information.
If I am a student who speaks English as a second language, may I
receive extra time to take the test?
Students who speak English as a second language may be able to have
accommodations, including extra time. The accommodation must be
used routinely during instruction and similar classroom tests. Your
school counselor can provide you with more information about accommodations.
If I am a student receiving special services, may I receive extra
time to take the test?
Students with disabilities may be able to have accommodations, including
extra time. The accommodation must be used routinely during instruction
and similar classroom tests. Your Individualized Education Program
(IEP) or Written Accommodation Plan will note which accommodations
you will be able to use when taking the computer skills tests.
If I have an Individualized Education Program (IEP), is there another
way that I can meet the computer skills proficiency requirement?
Some students with disabilities may show computer proficiency with
the state portfolio accommodation instead of taking the computer
skills test(s) if stated in the Individualized Education Program
(IEP. IEP Teams decide if students will use the portfolio accommodations.
Students may use the computer skills portfolio accommodation if
they cannot take the tests or portions of the tests (a) under standard
conditions or (b) with accommodations. When the portfolio is scored
“at standard” the computer skills proficiency requirement for graduation
Students with disabilities who are following the Occupational Course
of Study show computer proficiency as specified in their IEPs.
of the Computer Skills Test
are two computer skills tests, a multiple-choice test and a performance
test. The multiple-choice test will take about 105 minutes to complete;
the performance test will take about 90 minutes to complete. To
meet the graduation requirements, you must pass both tests.
North Carolina Test of Computer Skills—Multiple-Choice will be given
the way other multiple-choice tests are given (such as reading or
mathematics). Students will use an answer sheet that will be machine
scored. There will be 70 questions on the test. The test is based
on the nine major areas of the computer skills curriculum. These
terms, operation and care
use of curriculum software
North Carolina Test of Computer Skills—Performance requires students
to solve problems using software and a computer. Keyboarding, word
processing, database, and spreadsheet skills are assessed on the
performance test. Each section is timed.
To assess keyboarding skills, students will be required to key
a short passage, making as few errors as possible.
The word processing section requires students to retrieve a file
and to edit an existing passage.
Students will use a prepared database and spreadsheet to answer
questions. In some cases, students will need to describe how they
found an answer.
You should be able to use a database to search for information
using more than one criteria.
You should be able to use a spreadsheet to answer “What if” questions.
to Take the Computer Skills Test
the Tests: Practice Test
best way to prepare for these tests is to pay attention in class
and learn all you can about how to use a computer. In addition,
you should learn all that you can about the tests before you take
them. Careful reading of this handbook will provide you with information
about the tests. You can become familiar with the types of test
questions by trying the sample questions in this handbook. Plan
ahead so that you will feel prepared.
sure that you are familiar with the computer, operating system,
and software that you will use to take the performance part of the
test. Software used for the test includes Clarisworks, Microsoft
Works, or Microsoft Office. Ask your teacher or guidance
counselor about the software and computer that you will be using.
Read this handbook.
the sample items.
your teacher or counselor questions about parts you don’t understand.
for testing is a mental and physical activity. Along with becoming
familiar with the skills measured by the tests, you should try to
feel your best. To be alert and energetic at test time, you should
get a good night’s rest and eat a good, typical breakfast on the
day of the test.
the Tests: Preparation
ahead so that you will feel comfortable when you take your tests.
Remember to bring your materials.
Plan ahead so you don’t have to rush.
two No. 2 pencils.
your teacher or guidance counselor about other materials that
you should bring.
person giving the tests (test administrator) will try to make the
testing situation comfortable and free of distraction.
on the tests. Do not allow yourself to be distracted. For example,
do not let noises bother you.
the best that you can on your tests.
should try to answer each question.
your time, follow directions, and use good test-taking strategies.
the Tests: Scheduling Your Time
on time so that you will be able to get organized before each
sure that you understand the time restrictions for your tests.
working until you have finished the test. Some students may finish
before you do.
unnecessary clock-watching. It breaks concentration and causes
you finish before others, check your work.
the Tests: Following Directions
close attention to the sample exercises. These exercises are to
help you understand what the items will be like. You will also
learn how to mark your answers on the answer sheet.
multiple-choice questions, mark only within the answer circle.
all changed answers carefully. For multiple-choice questions,
if the circle disappears, do not redraw it. Redrawn circles may
be scored as your answer.
all stray answers on your answer sheet. Stray marks may cause
answers to be scored incorrectly.
the whole question. Think about what the question asks before
choosing your answer.
to answer every question before turning in your test booklet and
spend too much time on any one question. Answer the easier questions
first but be sure to note the questions you skip.
back to difficult questions. Try to eliminate some of the choices.
Choose the best answer.
you mark the multiple-choice answer sheet, make sure that the
number on the answer sheet matches the number of the question
you are answering.
your answers for mistakes.
back and recheck your answers if you finish before the testing
test consists of 70 questions that ask you about the use of computers
in society, hardware and software components, keyboarding, and how
to use specific software applications—word processing, database,
spreadsheet, and telecomputing.
answer a question, first decide which is the best answer
choice for a particular question. Then, find the question number
on your answer grid (below) and make a mark in the circle containing
the letter of the correct answer. Remember to mark only one answer
for each question.
Choice Sample Items
Choice Answers and Scoring Process
test consists of four parts—Keyboarding Techniques, Word Processing/Editing,
Database Use, and Spreadsheet Use—that assess how well you can use
software to perform specific functions. (The sample performance
questions in this handbook, as well as the electronic files, are
located on the Internet at www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/testing/computerskills/handbook.*
These will provide you with a chance to practice the questions using
actual keyboarding, word processing/editing, database, and spreadsheet
files. If you need help, talk to your teacher.)
Files To Take Sample Questions
Electronic files to use when answering performance sample items:
the directions at the beginning of each part. Then complete the
task or questions. Either you or the teacher giving the test must
print out your work for Keyboarding Techniques and Word Processing/Editing.
For the Database Use and Spreadsheet Use parts you should mark your
answers in the space provided next to each question.
Sample Answers and Scoring Process
electronic files for state computer skills performance tests
on the Internet are available in the software packages (PC and
Macintosh platforms) that are supported by the North Carolina
Department of Public Instruction.