Academic journal article Journal of Technology and Teacher Education

A Factor Analysis of the NETS Performance Profiles: Searching for Constructs of Self-Concept and Technology Professionalism

Academic journal article Journal of Technology and Teacher Education

A Factor Analysis of the NETS Performance Profiles: Searching for Constructs of Self-Concept and Technology Professionalism

Article excerpt

A factor analysis was conducted on data (n=956) from surveys based on the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) Performance Profiles to see how well student responses matched the six-factor NETS structure. Findings show that the performance profiles, when used directly as an assessment instrument, do not factor to the six-factor standard. Instead, two composite factors emerged: (a) Technology Self-Concept and (b) Policy and Professionalism. The authors conclude that self-assessments of educational technology using NETS are problematic at both the individual and institutional level. Findings also support the notion of early training in educational technology to provide individuals with a multidimensional concept of educational technology sufficient for more meaningful field experiences later in the teacher education program.

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In response to national concerns regarding the technology competence of teachers, the U.S. Department of Education, as well as state education agencies, have provided extensive funding for programs to promote professional development with technology. As the teaching profession undergoes numerous reform-driven changes to its definition of technology competence, there exists a need to better understand the ways in which those standards are enacted in teacher education programs. National and international professional organizations have developed definitions and standards of competence with technology that create for teacher education institutions an imperative to implement the standards within programs and experiences of future teachers. For individual teacher education students, this institutional imperative translates into a burden of self-efficacy or self-concept. In this study, a factor analysis of the dominant set of technology standards, NETS, is conducted in pursuit of an understanding of individual and programmatic response to the competencies these standards promote. While the fullest description of a future teacher's competence relies upon multiple indices and lenses, including portfolios, this study is focused on one measurement for technology competence that has had broad implementation across the country.

BACKGROUND

The Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to use Technology (PT3) initiative has drawn significant interest and resources to meet the challenge of changing the practice of teachers. Since the first grants were awarded in 1999, PT3 has become an institution unto itself in terms of its effect within institutions and between them. It can be argued that PT3 has become the language for technology reform in teacher education in the United States.

The National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) Project is an ongoing initiative of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Following the National Council on Accreditation of Teacher Education's (NCATE) adoption, NETS has emerged as the predominant standards set for educational technology for K-12 and teacher education institutions. As of March of 2003, 30 states have adopted NETS for Teachers and 2 others reference it as the basis for their own standards (ISTE, 2003). Yet, as with any set of standards, implementing them in meaningful ways or even using them as a benchmark for assessing current readiness is problematic.

Because of the efficiency of using web-based surveys and a national standard, there have emerged a number of instruments for assessing individual and/or program compliance with the national standards. One instrument for assessing NETS for Teachers, Profiler (South Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium [SCRTEC1], 1999) has seen widespread use by a number of PT3 institutions (Grandgenett, Jones, Pawloski, Timms, & Ostler, 2002; Jolly & Clark, 2002). Profiler was originally developed by the South Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium (SCRTEC, 1999) to be a web-based tool for measurement of program or individual deficits and strengths in relation to the NETS performance profiles at four distinct levels in their educational program: General Preparation, Professional Preparation, Student Teaching, and First Year Teacher. …

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