Background. Diagnostics of the schoolchildren digital competence is now an important educational task that requires an index applicable to children of the early school age and brief enough for population studies. The Digital Competence Index (DCI) as a component of social competence was proposed for measuring knowledge, skills, motivation and responsibility / security online in each of the following areas: content, communication, consumption, and technologicalsphere.
Objective. The development and subsequent verification of a brief and screening versions of DCI, and also the study of DCI in children under 12 years of age.
Design. During the first stage based on the first sample of DCI approbation, items with the highest correlation with each subscale were selected. Digital competence was assessed on the basis of the Index as well as the solution of experimental tasks. User activity was assessed using EU-Kids online methodology. During the second stage, the methodwas verified in the sample of children aged 7-11 and parents of children of primary school age. User activity was measured as well. The children also filled measure of Excessive Internet Use from EU-Kids online methodology and the Dembo-Rubinstein scales assessing their general and online self-esteem.
Sample. The first study included 1203 adolescents aged 12-17 and 1209 parents. The second sample included 50 children aged 7-11 years old and 100 parents of children aged 5-11 years.
Results. In the first study a brief version (32 points) allows to reliably (alpha 0.69-0.85) evaluate the four components and index ensuring the prediction accuracy of more than 90%. The screening version (16 points) makes it possible to reliably (0.71-0.73) estimate the overall index with the prediction accuracy of more than 85%. Both versions reproduced the basic patterns of the differences between correctly and incorrectly solved digital competence tasks by teenagers and parents. According to the second study, brief and screening versions can be used with the primary school age, although the screening version allows to estimate only the general index, but not the components of digital competence. The average digital competence of children 7-11 years old is 30% of the maximum possible, parents take 46%, which demonstrates the improvement of digital competence in the recent five years. Digital competence in both children and parents is associated with greater user activity, and in children – with a more positive self-esteem online and signs of excessive Internet use. In parents correct answers to the digital competence tasks were associated with greater competence, primarily on the components of responsibility/safety and skills.
Conclusion. The data support the possibility of using the screening version of the Digital Competence Index to obtain the general indicator in diagnosing adults and children of the primary school age, whereas a brief version of the DCI can be used not only as an overall index but also of its components.