But now there's Tek.Xam, a nationwide technology
assessment exam, developed specifically to provide graduates of nontechnical
degree programs with a way to prove their skills. On Saturday, April 14, George
Mason will host the exam, and alumni are welcome and encouraged to register.
The five-hour test measures a person's knowledge
of general technology terms and concepts and one's ability to use software
applications to create web pages, spreadsheets, presentations, and documents.
It also tests one's understanding of the legal and the ethical issues
associated with the use of technology and the ability to evaluate the quality
of web content. Unlike other technology exams, Tek.Xam is not tailored to
specific software packages.
The test is rigorous. According to an article
published last May in the New York Times, 1,700 students from 24 states have
taken the exam, and only about 30 percent of those who took the exam for the
first time passed it. The Tek.Xam web site at www.tekxam.com contains an online
quiz featuring a sample of the questions on the official test.
Developed by the Virginia Foundation for
Independent Colleges, a 48-year-old nonprofit organization consisting of 15
private Virginia colleges, the test has been endorsed by more than 40
corporations, including Gateway Computers, Landmark Communications, IBM, Media
General, and Johnson & Johnson. George Mason was one of approximately
65 universities and colleges that participated in the pilot of the test in 1998.
To register for the exam, go to media.gmu.edu/tekxam
beginning mid-February. The registration deadline is April 11. See the
web site for test location. The test will begin promptly at 9 a.m. Test
takers should sign in at 8:30 a.m. The cost is $75.