Digital divide: A critical context for digitally based assessments

Kadriye Ercikan, Mustafa Asil, Raman Grover


Student learning is increasingly taking place in digital environments both within and outside schooling contexts. Educational assessments are following suit, both to take advantage of the conveniences and opportunities that digital environments provide as well as to reflect the mediums of learning increasingly taking place in societies around the world. A social context relevant to learning and assessment in the digital age is the great differences in access to and competence in technology among students from different segments of societies. Therefore, access and competency in relation to technology become critical contexts for evaluations that rely on digitally based assessments. This chapter examines the digital divide between students from different segments of the society and discusses strategies for minimizing effects of digital divide on assessments of student learning. The research focuses on two types of demographic groups—gender and socioeconomic status (SES) groups—that have been highlighted in research on the digital divide. The research utilizes data from IEA’s International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS) 2013 for Grade 8 students administered in 21 jurisdictions around the world. It thus provides an international perspective on digital divide as an important context for international assessments as well as assessments within jurisdictions such as Mexico that are conducting assessments in digitally based environments.


digital divide; digital assessments; ICILS

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