Electronic Working Paper 15

  • Marco Gui, University of Milano-Bicocca
  • Gianluca Argentin, University of Milano-Bicocca

ABSTRACT

This article outlines the main results of an extensive survey on the digital skills of a random sample of 980 third-year high school students in Italy. The test used in the survey covers three main dimensions of digital skills (theoretical knowledge, operational skills, and evaluation skills) and includes knowledge questions, situation-based questions and tasks performed online. A Rasch-type model was used to score the results and an adjusted regression analysis was undertaken to investigate whether a skills divide based on characteristics such as gender and family education exists among the students. The results indicate that while family education level has a relevant impact with respect to physical access conditions at home, this variable is associated with small differences in students' level of skill. The results for gender, were similar in terms of skills differences but there were no significant differences in terms of access.

These results support the hypothesis that in an environment such as northern Italy (the Trentino region), where good quality and relatively equal educational opportunities are in place and where schools provide frequent opportunities to use the web, differences in the characteristics examined in this study do not have a substantial impact on the digital skills level among young people.

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