Students’ digital competence: A scoping review of measuring instruments [PDF]

Sanita Litiņa, Anika Miltuze
University of Latvia, Latvia

Abstract: In today’s society, digital competence is becoming increasingly relevant, as this competence is necessary to function on both a personal and professional level. Digital competence is essential for students, since it enables them to exist in a digitalised world. Over the last few decades, the concept of digital competence has been used more frequently (Spante et al., 2018), and now it is actively discussed, particularly in terms of policy documents (European Council, 2018; European Commission, 2014; European Commission 2021). During the discussions related to policy, the following questions have been raised: 1) what kind of skills and knowledge people should possess in a knowledge society, and 2) what should be taught to young students and how it has to be done (Ilomäki et al., 2016). The purpose of the present scoping review is to provide a comprehensive overview of relevant research regarding the instruments commonly used to measure digital competence of university students. Arksey and O’Malley’s (2005) five-stage framework underpins the scoping review. Three databases were used to conduct a scoping literature review, including ERIC, ProQuest and EBSCO. The inclusion criteria were peer-reviewed publications written in English within the period from 2014 till 2020. Initially, 395 articles in total were selected; the full texts of 43 articles were assessed. Finally, only 13 out 395 articles that met the inclusion criteria were considered in the present research. This paper reports on three main categories: (1) definition of digital competence, (2) development and characteristics of an instrument measuring digital competence, and (3) key findings. The most commonly used framework found during this research was The European Digital Competence Framework for Citizens 2.0. (Vuorikari et al., 2016). A larger part of studies reports on a designed self-assessment questionnaire comprising of multiple-choice items and quantitative evaluation of the competence. The scoping review showed that the majority of the existing tests enable to assess students’ digital information searching, communication and technical skills. The findings of previous studies indicate that students tend to overestimate their digital competence and lack knowledge of basic topics, the ones related to information and data literacy. Our findings point to the necessity to use different approaches for assessing digital competence on different levels.
Keywords: assessment instrument, digital competence, digital literacy,scoping review, student.

In: Human, Technologies and Quality of Education, 2021 = Cilvēks, tehnoloģijas un izglītības kvalitāte, 2021
Rīga, University of Latvia, 2021. 1148 p. Ed. L. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-18-735-3