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Kansas High School Computer Technology Proficiency Examination
Overview of Proficiencies Measured on the Test

The FHSU Computer Technology Examination is based on the "Four Areas of Knowledge" listed in the following information. The Kansas Board of Regents is the source of the information that follows.

The Qualified Admissions Precollege Curriculum approved by the Kansas Board of Regents on October 17, 1996, includes one high school unit of computer technology. The Board of Regents also approved a provision that students can meet this requirement by completing a course or by passing a computer proficiency examination. In either case, it is imperative that high schools award at least one unit of credit to ensure that students have completed this component of the precollege curriculum.

The information below describes the content areas and outcomes that should be included in courses or on proficiency examinations.

The diversity of computer systems, hardware and software make it impossible to provide an exhaustive list of all important topics. For reference, the information that might be the subject of the examination has been divided into four areas. Within each area are terms that might be important and tasks that students should be able to complete. High School teachers are free to provide additional information to students who are preparing for study at a Regents university.


Four Areas of Knowledge

 I. Operating Systems and Hardware

A. Glossary

Operating System, Macintosh, Microsoft Windows, MS-DOS, Unix, OS/2. Concepts relevant to all Operating Systems: file, command, format, ASCII, binary, compression, prompt, directory or folder, menu, utility programs, server. Specialized Operating Systems Concepts: graphical user interface (GUI), multiprocessing, multitasking, root directory, clipboard. Computer hardware, central processing unit (CPU), monitor, mouse, video resolution color depth, keyboard, motherboard, printer, random access memory (RAM), scanner. (For some purposes, it may be important to know about more specialized terms, such as read only memory (ROM), expansion slot, sound card, video card, bus, analog, digital, serial port, parallel port.) Magnetic storage media, diskette, CD-ROM, hard disk, bit, byte, kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte, optical storage. Modem, baud.

B. Relevant Skills

  1. Hardware skills. Enter commands from the keyboard, mouse, or other input device. Turn a machine on and off if necessary. Identify the operating system type and version. 
  2. File management skills. Create a directory or subdirectory (or folder). Find a file located on a hard disk or other storage device. Copy (move) files from one directory to another directory. Rename or delete files and directories (or folders). Decompress a file using a given decompression program.
  3. Diskette usage skills. Copy files to and from diskette. Format a diskette. Check a diskette for viruses using a given virus check program.

C. Sample Task to Demonstrate Knowledge of Hardware and Operating System

Suppose you have $2,500 to purchase a computer system for your room at college. You are majoring in business, so you will need word processing, spreadsheet, and database software. You will also need a CD-ROM, a modem and a printer. Use the Internet to search for components and pricing for three alternative computer systems. Print the Web pages to document your selections. Create a spreadsheet to develop a system cost comparison model. Use the following column labels: Component, Price, Alternative 1, Alternative 2, and Alternative 3. Use a word processor to write a brief justification for each of your selections, such as processor type and speed, amount of memory, hard disk size, etc.

 II. Computer Software

A. Software Glossary

Word Processor, boldface, center, cut, justify, edit, font, format, paste, spell check, type size, underline. Spread Sheet, cell, attributes of a cell, chart, copy across, copy down, formula, absolute reference, relative reference. Data Base, field, filter, record, report, sort. Presentation software, slide.

B. Word Processing Skills

The ability to create, edit, and produce documents is one of the vital skills. It is expected that any student who will attend a Regents’ Institution should be able to accomplish tasks such as these:

  1. Create documents. Launch a word processor. Create a new document, such as a friendly letter or a memo to an employer.  
  2. Format a document according to certain specifications. Enter text (from a news story or other source) and change the margins, paragraph format, and page numbering in a way that is required by a teacher. Change text styles, such as the font, type size, or other special characteristics. A person ought to be able to enter a title and text, center the lines on the page, with the title in bold face and a larger type size than the body of the text.
  3. Edit and revise documents. Open a saved document that is stored on a hard disk or floppy disk. Check for spelling errors using the word processing spell checker. Check for major grammatical errors using a given grammar check program. Rearrange sentences or paragraphs, perhaps by cut and paste methods.
  4. Save and print documents. Save the document to a disk. Print the document.

C. Spreadsheet Skills

Spreadsheets are increasingly common tools for organization of data. A student ought to be able to complete these tasks.

  1. Create a spreadsheet. Launch a spreadsheet program. Create a spreadsheet whose first row is the set of numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10; and whose second row is the squares of these numbers 1, 4, 9, 16, etc. Create this second row by using formulas.
  2. Experiment with the spreadsheet to investigate a problem. Values in cells or formula can be changed to reach a desired result - such as making a simple budget to fit within a pre-determined amount of money. 
  3. Control aspects of spread sheet format. Various spreadsheet programs have different abilities and terminology, but all will allow changes in the definition of cells, columns, and rows. For example, one can: Change cell text attributes. Change cell number attributes. Insert/delete a row into/from a spreadsheet. Copy a formula down a column or across a row. This formula should have both relative and absolute references. Copy a formula from one cell and paste it into another cell.
  4. Create a chart from a spreadsheet. Most spreadsheet programs have built-in routines to create graphs, so a student can easily make a plot of time series data or a bar chart. 
  5. Save and print a spreadsheet. Save the spreadsheet to a disk. Print a spreadsheet in usual form. Print a wide spreadsheet in landscape form.

D. Data Base Software Skills

Data base programs are not as well known as word processors and spread sheets, but they are used widely in business and government.

  1. All students should be able to describe the term data base and the key terms like record and field. 
  2. Students who have experience with data base programs might be asked to demonstrate their mastery. Create a database of names and addresses from a list on a paper. Each record is to include name and address of an individual. Have separate fields for name, street, city, state and zip. Sort a database on any field in any order. Create a report - set up a report which filters out some of the data. Print a report.

E. Presentation Software

Computer programs exist that can organize material in outline form and incorporate visual and sound effects to enhance a presentation. Students who have experience with such software might be asked to complete the following tasks:

  1. Create a presentation document that meets certain requirements. A student could be asked to create a title slide according to a particular example or prepare a bullet list.
  2. Some programs allow special effects, particularly when changing slides. New slides might slide into the presentation from one side or the other, or slides might fade out. 
  3. Print the slides created.

F. Multi-tasking

Many operating systems now allow a computer operator to open several programs at once. This is true of the Macintosh, Microsoft Windows, OS/2 and X-windows for Unix. A person who has a knowledge of a system with multi-tasking ought to be able to carry out a sequence of the following sort:

  1. Create a short letter on a word processor.
  2. While the word processor is still active create a spreadsheet. 
  3. Copy the spreadsheet entries into the word processor. 
  4. Print the resulting letter with the spreadsheet inserted.

 III. Networking and the Internet

A. Glossary

Network, local area network, client/server, Ethernet, host, Unix, gopher, file transfer protocol. Internet World Wide Web, browser, uniform resource locator (URL), HTML, hypertext, download/upload, bookmark, BBS. Online telecommuting, teleconferencing, discussion list, virus, Usenet, flame, FAQ, telnet, e-mail.

B. Tasks

  1. File transfer skills. There are many possible programs and methods, but each student ought to be able to connect to another computer and upload and download files (in any number of formats such as ASCII, binary, or binhex).
  2. E-mail skills. Connect to a network or other computer where an e-mail account resides. Using that e-mail connection, receive, save, decode attachments, and reply to e-mail. Create e-mail messages and attach a file to the e-mail message.
  3. Students who have access to LANs or other networks any be able to demonstrate knowledge of programs that run from a server, such as word processing or spread sheet programs.
  4. Internet skills. Access a site on the world wide web and copy a file from it to disk. Follow hypertext links from that site to several others; bookmark the path. Access a remote library catalog and print out a bibliographical entry. Subscribe/unsubscribe to a discussion list or Usenet group.

 IV. Social and Ethical Issues in Computing

A. Glossary

Copyright, fraud, legislation, laws, privacy, ethics, computer crime.

B. Important Ethical Issues in Computing

  1. Every student must understand that it is unethical and illegal to: Make copies of copyrighted software without permission (software piracy). Misuse passwords or obtain access to computers without permission. Illicitly secure information or data files. Interfere with the transmission, storage, retrieval of data through deliberate virus infection, alteration of codes, or destruction or damage of operating systems.
  2. Every student should understand the importance of consideration and mutual respect in the use of computing resources. Network and Internet resources are finite and increasingly crowded. Usage of scarce bandwidth for frivolous pursuit is inappropriate. Harassment--sexual, racial, religious and political--is illegal. The impersonal/anonymous nature of the Internet does not change this fact. One should not misrepresent the thought, work or character of others.
  3. Students should be encouraged to consider the change in their social and work environment that are likely to result from usage of computing technology. How do computers and the skills needed to use them affect the job market, the quality of life in the workplace, the distribution of tasks and responsibilities within the corporation, and the personal health of employees?
  4. Principles of ethical behavior that apply in a social environment carry over into a computer environment. A person should: Cooperate with peers and teachers. Abide by a code of honesty and integrity. Accept responsibility for your own work. Work cooperatively as a team member. Not take credit for the work of other people. Not misrepresent information. Be familiar with the rules and procedures of the network or systems that they use.

C. Example tasks that might assist the student in study of the ethical and legal issues of privacy, copyright, and computer crime include the following:

  1. To learn more about copyrights and regulations on computer usage, do an Internet search on these topics: Freedom of Information Act 1970. Federal Privacy Act of 1974. Electronic Communications Act of 1986. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984 (1986). United States Copyright Law. Berne Convention (or other intellectual property treaties).
  2. Use Internet searches to become familiar with professional associations and codes of ethical conduct. You can learn more about: ISOC -- Internet Society (volunteer board that runs the Internet). Association for Computer Machinery (ACM). The self-proclaimed “First Society in Computing”; (see http://info.acm.org/). Association for Information Technology Professionals (AITP). This was formerly called Data Processing Management Association. This organization works with computer professionals and has formulated a comprehensive code of ethics (see http://www.aitp.org/ ).
  3. Find out about state laws that govern computers and electronic communication.