A Practical Approach to Assessing IT Professional Skills

Bowers, David; Sabin, Mihaela and Raj, Rajendra K. (2023). A Practical Approach to Assessing IT Professional Skills. In: The 23rd Annual Conference on Information Technology Education (SIGITE ’23), 11-14 Oct 2023, Marietta, GA, USA, ACM.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3585059.3611426

Abstract

The release of the Information Technology (IT) 2017 curricular guidelines provided the impetus to focus on students’ professional competencies by incorporating authentic practice into disciplinary content. Authentic practices require appropriate learning experiences such as workplace-bound experiences, employer engagement with programs via paid internships, and critical reflection on what was learned. Both professional technical and non-technical skills must be emphasized for such authenticity. However, practical assessment of the learning of professional competencies remains challenging. This paper develops such a practical assessment approach to IT competencies. It builds on the industry-led Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) that defines over 120 IT professional skills across seven levels of responsibility and experience. SFIA provides actionable and measurable activities and behaviors, which IT graduates need to demonstrate in the workplace. The paper explores the assessment of student performance on authentic, real-world tasks using a rubric-based scoring scheme supported by a systematic collection of sample student work over their time in the program. It concludes with a discussion of the validation of the proposed approach to demonstrate its practicality.

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