Online Platform Tests User Computer Skills, Rewards Certificates

The Role of Technology and Digital Skills

In schools, workplaces, and communities around the globe, technology is becoming increasingly integrated into daily tasks and requirements. Because of this, digital skills are no longer being thought of as an extra perk on a resume. Instead, they’re often seen as a requirement.

In 2017, the Hechinger Report reported that 70 percent of teachers send their students home with online homework, requiring young students to develop computer literacy skills at a faster rate than previous generations. Similarly, in their 2017 report, Burning Glass Technologies reported that 80 percent of middle-skill jobs now require computer skills, with digital skills paving a path toward higher pay and higher-skill positions. To thrive in today’s competitive job market, applicants need digital skills.

How Northstar Can Help

Recognizing this need, the Saint Paul Public Library and the Saint Paul Community Literacy Consortium in Saint Paul, Minnesota, began a community-based process in 2010 to define the skills needed to thrive in today’s technological world; and the project has been growing rapidly ever since. From this, the Northstar Digital Literacy Assessments were established.

As a nationally-recognized platform, Northstar empowers community members to take digital learning into their own hands, providing users with self-guided online modules that assess participants’ skill levels on digital tasks. The platform focuses on three basic computer literacy standards and modules, including:

  • Essential Computer Skills – Computer Basics, Internet Basics, Email, Windows OS, Mac OS X 
  • Essential Software Skills – Word, Excel, PowerPoint
  • Using Technology to Accomplish Tasks – Social Media, Information Literacy

These assessments and modules are publicly available. Anyone can take an assessment for free by visiting

For individuals interested in receiving certifications recognizing their digital skills sets, proctor-supervised assessments are available at over 500 testing locations in the United States, Canada, Nigeria, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. Users who score 85 percent or higher will earn a certificate. Thus far, Northstar assessments have been taken over three million times!

Importance of Digital Skills

If you are interested in learning about the importance of digital skills, check out the following resources:

Learn More

To learn more about Northstar, visit their website or watch their informational video!

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