When most people think of the TSA, they picture long lines at airports and uncomfortable security scans with the agents of the Transportation Security Administration. However, students in the McKay School of Education have a different fear associated with TSA’s–the Technology Skills Assessment.
Remember that teacher you had in high school that was almost completely incompetent when it came to technology and needed help just to pull up the internet browser? The TSA is a method to prevent us from being those technologically-challenged teachers by assessing different skills used by instructors today.
Taking the TSA’s is easy. The McKay School of Education Website is jam-packed with information on how to take the tests, tips on how to prepare, and even practice tests so you can practice the skills before you’re tested on them. If you have any questions about the TSA’s, this website is definitely the place to go.
Here are some of my tips as well as some things other teaching majors say have worked well for them:
Prepare. You only have 30 minutes to complete each segment, so use your time wisely and prepare beforehand. It’s worth it to not have to take the test over again!
Use what you know. We live in a generation surrounded by technology and you might be surprised by how much you already know. When going through the practice tests, refresh those skills so you can be ready to show them off in the real assessment.
Focus on new skills. I’m going to be honest–I’m not very good at spreadsheets. No matter how many times I think I have it down, if you try and throw a new format at me, I panic. That’s why I found it helpful to do a more in-depth review of the spreadsheet component before taking the actual test. Even though I still struggle with difficult spreadsheets, the practice really helped me get the basics down.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Obviously you’re not allowed to ask for help during the assessment; the TEC lab assistants are asked to avoid giving advice even if you’re practicing. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find help in other places. BYU offers several technology classes and I’m sure you have some sort of computer whiz in your ward that can help you out. One fellow teaching major suggests going through the practice tests with someone else–that way, you can work through the instructions together. Two heads are better than one! Also, Google is your best friend.
Take the practice tests. Even if you feel confident in one area, it’s helpful to go over the instructions for the practice test so you know exactly what to expect. If you’re not very familiar with a particular area, the practice tests will help you become more familiar with the program as well as show you the requirements for assessment. If you’re worried about the time limit, try and do the practice test in under 30 minutes. The practice tests are a wonderful way to make sure you know what you’re doing and know exactly what to expect.
There was a time when I would have rather gone to the airport and undergone a security scan by the security agents in blue than take the Technology Skills Assessments. But once I realized how manageable it was and talked to some other students about it, I realized there was nothing to worry about. The TSA’s are a great way to show off what you know and be ready for whatever technological question may be thrown your way by your future students. No technologically challenged teachers should be coming from BYU!