Basic Computer Digital Literacy Standards

Why is Digital Literacy important?

Knowing how to use computers is important in everyday life. Whether applying for jobs online, reading the news, banking and paying bills, searching for information, or communicating with others, digital literacy is increasingly part of basic literacy.

Our Response

During early 2010, the St. Paul Community Literacy Consortium was asked by the St. Paul Public Library to convene a community task force to develop basic computer Digital Literacy Standards. Over the next several months, professionals from community based non-profits, libraries, school district and non-profit ABE programs, state agencies, and other organizations met regularly to "Develop a commonly accepted set of digital literacy standards that will facilitate empowerment of adults needing technology skills for daily living, employment preparation, and/or transition to higher education."

The Northstar Digital Literacy Standards

The Northstar Digital Literacy/Core Computer Literacy Standards are designed to help low-skilled adults perform a variety of daily tasks on the computer and online. The primary focus is to help people gain basic digital literacy skills needed to search for, obtain, and succeed in entry-level jobs. They will also help people communicate with their children’s schools, connect to community resources, etc. Once adults master the skills, they can receive a Certificate of Basic Digital Literacy Skills, which can be used with employers when applying for work.

The standards include basic computer digital literacy standards in five main areas - download by clicking - Introduction, Basic Computer Use, Internet, Windows Operating System, Email, and Word Processing (Word). A sixth assessment, Mac OS, is in process. Note that the standards documents are ‘locked,’ but there are columns by each set of standards that can be used when assessing students.

Development of Assessment

Funding was obtained through the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library from the Otto Bremer Foundation and Library Services and Technology Act Federal (LSTA) to create an online assessment tool. Skilled consultants have completed the assessment over the past year. More information is available here.

Minding the Gap: Bridging the Digital Divide in Minnesota

The standards are featured in a prezi presented at the October 2011 Minnesota Library Association Annual Conference in Duluth:


Overview of Standards Development

This PPTX file explains the origin and development of the Standards.

Feedback and Questions

Contact us to provide feedback or ask questions about the Standards.


Top image: graur codrin /