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The CEO Forum School Technology and Readiness Report: Key Building Blocks for Student Achievement in the 21st Century

By CEO Forum on Education and Technology (2001)

Summary and Review  |  Profile and Features  |  Complete Study  |  Related Studies

General Articles
and Expert Opinions
Descriptive and
Survey Studies
Formal Evaluations Formal Research

 Print Version of Review

APA Reference:

CEO Forum on Education and Technology. (2001, June). The CEO Forum school technology and readiness report: Key building blocks for student achievement in the 21st century. Retrieved February 21, 2002, from http://www.ceoforum.org/downloads/report4.pdf.


This is the final report, in a series of four reports, produced by the CEO Forum on Education and Technology during a five-year exploration of the impact of educational technology. The CEO Forum�s mission for the five-year initiative was to provide reports to inform educational decision makers about effective uses of educational technology. The report concludes that effective uses of technology to enhance student achievement are based on four building blocks which are alignment, assessment, accountability, and access and analysis. Its definition of student achievement includes 21st Century skills. The report describes 21st Century skills as �a new set of skills necessary to prepare students for life and work in the digital age. These skills include digital literacy, inventive thinking, effective communication and high productivity abilities� (p. 32). The CEO Forum asserts that to obtain the maximum return on investments in technology, educational organizations need to focus their technology efforts on the four building blocks of student achievement.

Major implications for educators/decision makers:

  • The CEO Forum report recommends that school decision makers include a broad range of school community stakeholders in planning processes aimed at identifying measurable educational objectives for 21st Century skills such as digital literacy, inventive thinking, effective communication and high productivity.
  • The CEO Forum report recommends that schools develop strategic technology and educational plans that ensure alignment across the curriculum, learning standards and objectives. Plans also need to support equitable resource allocation and valid assessments.
  • The CEO Forum report recommends that educators advocate for changes in outdated assessments. Barriers to using technology in assessment need to be removed so that methods of assessment accurately reflect the technology tools used in teaching and learning. Schools also need to adopt more than one measure to evaluate students� learning and the effectiveness of instructional practices that use technology. It suggests using multiple measures in continuous school improvement processes to inform strategic planning at the learner, classroom, professional development and organizational levels.
  • The report recommends that schools focus on four building blocks (or strategies) to improve student achievement using technology within education. These are:
    • Alignment strategies involve making changes to curriculum, assessment and technology uses to support 21st Century learning standards and their measurable objectives.
    • Assessment strategies incorporate technology to provide information for continuous improvement through iterative, formative feedback about teaching and learning processes. The Baldridge quality principles are useful as a basis for designing continuous improvement planning processes.
    • Accountability strategies employ information technology to facilitate monitoring progress, generating and analyzing performance data, gathering evidences of what works, and informing continuous school improvement planning.
    • Access and analysis strategies equalize opportunities for all students to use technology to achieve 21st Century skills, based on evaluations of the types of professional development and digital content accessible within a school community.

Major implications for educational researchers/evaluators:

  • The CEO Forum report recommends longitudinal studies to identify how, when and for what periods of time technology can help students learn.
  • Research is needed to identify the most powerful ways to share best practices in order to maximize the positive impact of technology on student learning and achievement.
  • Research is needed to guide assessment reforms. Assessment tools that measure 21st Century skills need to be developed. Formative assessments that assist teachers and learners in managing the teaching and learning process as it is happening are needed. Methods for using technology in the assessment process need to align with technology uses in instruction.
  • Among its key recommendations, the CEO Forum report advocates for the development of criteria for incorporating 21st Century skills into learning standards and related assessment instruments. Evaluations should look for alignment among curriculum, technology uses, resource allocations and assessment to support standards and educational objectives.
  • Its final recommendation pertains to digital equity. The CEO Forum calls for policy measures at the federal and state levels to ensure equitable access to hardware, connectivity, professional development and digital content for all students.

Major intervention(s) or variables studied:

Uses of technology to improve student achievement

Major questions addressed:

Sources of evidence identified:

The report draws upon a variety of sources of evidence including case studies of best practices, expert interviews, and analysis of existing research. Its appendix provides valuable educational statistics that illustrate the national status of educational technology.

Replicable strategies, practices, and/or products:

The CEO Forum investigation involved synthesizing case studies of best practice classrooms, analyzing existing research, and interviewing experts in the field to identify objectives for educational uses of technology. The key findings are represented in the CEO Forum Star Chart: A Tool for Assessing School Technology and Readiness, which can be used in technology planning to set benchmarks and goals.

Strengths and limitations of the study:

The primary strength of this report is that it synthesizes evidence from a variety of sources into action-oriented recommendations for effective uses of technology within education. Its primary limitation is that the report hinges many of its recommendations on necessary changes to existing barriers at the federal and state levels impacting local educational agencies� uses of technology.

Suggested related studies or resources to consider:

Bain, A., & Ross, K. (2000). School reengineering and SAT-1 performance: A case study. International Journal of Education Reform, 9(2), pp. 148-153.

Baldridge National Quality Program. (2000). Education criteria for performance excellence. Retrieved January 27, 2003, from http://www.quality.nist.gov and the Baldridge in Education Initiative http://www.biein.org.

Bennett, R. E. (1998). Reinventing assessment: Speculation on the future of large-scale educational testing. Princeton: Educational Testing Service.

Fishman, B., Best, S. & Marx, R. (2001). Fostering teacher learning in systemic reform: Linking professional development to teacher and student learning. Paper presented at NARST 2001, St. Louis, MO. Retrieved December 5, 2002, from http://www-personal.umich.edu/~fishman/papers/FishmanNARST2001.pdf.

Maryland School Performance Assessment Program. (2000). Retrieved December 5, 2002, from http://mdk12.org/mspp/mspap/how-scored/mspap_info/index.html.

San Mateo County Office of Education. (1997). Designing a rubric. The multimedia project: Project-based learning with multimedia. Retrieved December 5, 2002, from http://pblmm.k12.ca.us/PBLGuide/Activities/DesignRubric.html.

Shepard, L. (2000). The role of assessment in a learning culture. Educational Researcher, 29(7), 4-14. Retrieved February 6, 2003, from http://www.aera.net/pubs/er/arts/29-07/shep01.htm.

SRI International--Center for Technology in Learning. (n.d.) Assessment. Retrieved December 5, 2002, from http://www.sri.com/policy/ctl/html/research_home.html. Information on assessment for measuring students� skill in performing research on the Internet and other 21st century skills such as collaboration, creativity and higher order thinking.

ThinkLink Learning. (No Date). P.A.S.S. Predictive assessment system for students. Retrieved December 5, 2002, from http://www.thinklinklearning.com.

Vosniadou, D., De Corte, E., Glaser, R., & Mandl, H. (1996). International perspectives on the design of technology-supported learning environments. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publisher.

* = Reviewed in CARET


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