This study was designed to address the perennial issue of the degree of computer knowledge acquired by students prior to enrolling in an introductory Computer Concepts course. High school students often take a computer course that includes computer applications (word processing, spreadsheets, database management systems and presentation software); for some students, formal instruction in such computer applications begins in middle school and informal instruction may begin much earlier. Despite the increasing prevalence of students who enter universities having completed at least one computing course, instructors of university-level introductory computer courses typically observe wide differences in the computing background and knowledge of students enrolled in their courses. To better assess these differences, 82 students enrolled in a Spring Semester 2003 Computer Concepts course voluntarily completed a computer literacy assessment test in an attempt to earn a high enough score to “test out” of the course. This paper provides an analysis of the students’ perceptions of their proficiency with software applications, prior course completed, their frequency and longevity of computer and Internet use, and their results on the “test out” exam.
Case, Thomas; MacKinnon, Ronald; and Dyer, John, "Computer Literacy and the Introductory Student: An Analysis of Perceived and Actual Knowledge of Computers and Computer Applications" (2004). SAIS 2004 Proceedings. 46.