What Is a Computer Skills Assessment?

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  • Written By: Kelly Ferguson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 13 December 2019
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A computer skills assessment is a test that measures an individual's competence in different computer-related areas. Skill assessments, including those for computer skills, are frequently given to interviewers applying for a new job or a promotion or to students for placement into the correct classes. There is no standard subject that every computer skills assessment will cover, but many require the tester to perform basic or advanced tasks within a specific program or set of programs or to solve a common problem that may be encountered during the job or in the class for which he or she is testing.

Generally, a computer skills assessment will be taken on a computer rather than with a pencil and paper like a traditional test. This forces the tester to use practical knowledge about computers, such as correct manipulation of the mouse or trackpad and adequate typing skills, to even take the test, which guarantees some level of competence. Additionally, tests on the computer allow for a broader range of practical questions. For instance, on a computer, the tester may be required to complete certain actions, such as opening a text editor, typing a line of text, changing the font, and then saving the document. This type of demonstration of practical knowledge, which would be very difficult to replicate on a standard pencil and paper test, is common to many computer skills assessments.


Depending on the type of computer skills assessment, different sets of skills and knowledge will be needed to pass the test. This is usually related to the reason the tester is taking the assessment. For example, interviewers looking to achieve a clerical position may be tested on typing speed and accuracy, as well as his or her ability to perform certain functions in spreadsheet programs or format and edit text documents. A computer repair technician, however, may be required to take a computer skills assessment that includes software troubleshooting and installations, resolving network problems, and other similar items.

Skills assessment tests may or may not be standardized so that the scores are usable by many different employers or schools. Some tests have been created by the certain employer or school to test a specific area of computer skills, such as using complex statistics or graphical design programs, that most standard computer skills tests do not cover. Occasionally, a tester may be required to take many skills assessments, generally starting from the most basic skills and progressing through more complex or advanced topics.


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Post 3

@Fa5t3r - Often temp agencies will give computer skills assessments when someone is looking for a job, so they know where to place them.

It's a skill set that is easy to improve at home (provided you have the computer, or can access one at the library) so it's definitely one that I recommend people to hone if they are looking for a job that could conceivably use computers, and these days most jobs do.

Post 2

@pastanaga - Actually I was reading an article the other day about the massive disparity that still exists between people who understand computers intuitively (usually people who have grown up with them) and people who don't. The journalist was talking about how in a previous job she would often be given expensive training courses in order to teach her skills that she already knew just from blogging or hanging out on Facebook with her friends.

I think at the moment we're at the point where the people doing the hiring might still not understand computers that well themselves, and the people being hired understand them so well they don't know how to market themselves because they take their skills for granted.

This is why people who know computers should take a computer skills assessment test in order to get down on paper proof of what they can do. They might be surprised at how valuable the skills can be.

Post 1

I remember taking one of these in high school, when computer classes were still a relatively new thing and astounding everyone by getting 100%. Of course, it was just because my father was a bit of a computer geek and I'd been messing around on his computer for years, so I knew my way around one.

I guess they would test for much more comprehensive skills these days and I'd probably fail altogether, rather than getting a good mark.

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