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Northstar Digital Literacy: Training & Assessment Tools

The Office of Library and Information Services, in partnership with the RI Family Literacy Initiative (RIFLI), Broadband RI (BBRI), and the Adult Education Professional Development Center (PDC), is providing 24 site licenses for public libraries to become approved sites for proctoring the Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment. Site licenses are available June 2015 through June 2016 and will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Libraries who are interested in becoming proctoring sites must attend a proctor training session.

The Northstar Digital Literacy Project defines and assesses basic skills needed to perform tasks on computers and online, helping individuals to identify areas of strength and areas needing work. It aligns to basic computer digital literacy standards with modules in eight main areas:

  • Basic Computer Use
  • Internet
  • Windows Operating System
  • Mac OS
  • Email
  • Word Processing (Microsoft Word)
  • Social Media
  • Microsoft Excel

A new module will soon be added for Microsoft PowerPoint.

When individuals pass the assessments at approved sites, they can obtain the Northstar Digital Literacy Certificate. This provides a credential for employment. There is no cost to complete the online assessments. The self-guided digital literacy modules developed by Northstar are freely available online, but certificates may only be earned by taking the assessments at approved sites.

The Northstar digital literacy modules align with the BBRI digital literacy curriculum, as modified by trainers at the Providence Public Library and Cranston Public Library. The digital literacy assessment may also align with other library digital literacy efforts, including classroom and one on one training. In addition to proctor training, RIFLI will provide resources to support libraries with digital literacy training using Northstar.

The Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment, developed by the St. Paul Public Library (MN) and community partners, was first deployed in RI as a digital literacy assessment tool by RIFLI through a Library of RI (LORI) Grant, Computer Literacy for Non-Native English Speaking Adults. The tool has been successfully incorporated into the Adult Lifelong Learning (ALL) Access in the Libraries program at Providence Public Library and the Cranston Public Library. It has also been adopted by the RI Department of Education's Adult Education program to teach and assess digital literacy skills for adults at the 34 adult education centers across the state. ALL Access and Adult Ed, focus on providing services to adults to improve their education and employment opportunities.

For more information or to sign up for a license and training, please contact Alicia Waters.