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Technology and Engineering Literacy

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Technology and Engineering Literacy (TEL) assessment measures whether students are able to apply technology and engineering skills to real-life situations. TEL uses interactive scenario-based tasks to gauge what students know and can do. The most recent TEL assessment was given in 2018 to approximately 15,400 students in grade 8.

Assessment Content

The assessment framework broadly defines technological and engineering literacy as the capacity to use, understand, and evaluate technology as well as to understand technological principles and strategies needed to develop solutions and achieve goals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The assessment is administered as a digitally based assessment.

The TEL assessment is designed to measure three interconnected areas of technology and engineering experience in and out of the classroom: technology and society, design and systems, and information and communication technology. The framework also outlines what technology and engineering literacy knowledge and skills students should have to reach NAEPBasic, NAEPProficient, and NAEP Advanced achievement. Survey questionnaires, administered to students, teachers, and school administrators who participate in a TEL assessment, are used to collect and report contextual information about students’ K-12 education and learning experience in and out of the classroom.


Icons representing each NAEP assessment subject in arts, civics, economics, geography, reading, mathematics, technology and engineering literacy, science, U.S. history, and writing.

Video Gallery: TEL Content, Tutorials, Tasks

0:36
Introduction to TEL
Introduction to TEL
0:27
NAEP TEL Tutorial
NAEP TEL Tutorial
0:20
Exploring a TEL Task
Exploring a TEL Task

How Results Are Reported

Academic achievement in mathematics is presented in two ways on The Nations's Report Card: scale scores and NAEP achievement levels.

  • Scale scores represent how students performed on the technology and engineering literacy assessment. Scores are aggregated and reported for diverse student groups for the nation, states, and districts.
  • NAEP achievement levels are performance standards that describe what students should know and be able to do.

Results are reported as percentages of students performing at or above three NAEP achievement levels (NAEP Basic, NAEP Proficient, and NAEP Advanced). Students performing at or above the NAEP Proficient level on NAEP assessments demonstrate solid academic performance and competency over challenging subject matter. It should be noted that the NAEP Proficient achievement level does not represent grade level proficiency as determined by other assessment standards (e.g., state or district assessments).

Item maps illustrate how specific TEL knowledge and skills correspond to different NAEP achievement levels. Item maps answer the question, "What does it mean for students to be at NAEP Basic, NAEP Proficient, or NAEP Advanced in terms of what they know and can do?"

Computer monitor displaying icons of data and charts.

Last updated 23 November 2021 (MB)