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What is the Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment?

The Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment is a self-guided, online set of assessments that show an individual’s ability to perform basic computer skills in seven skill area areas: Basic Computer Use, Internet, Windows OS/Mac OS, Email, Word Processing (using Microsoft Word), Social Media and Excel. Anyone may take the assessments online.  At the end of each test, the user receives a page of results that lists the skills that have been mastered and the skills needing work. The tests are also available in Spanish and with closed-captioning. Taking the test is FREE and available to everyone.

Northstar Learning Guide:

 NorthStar Assessment 

Individuals who take a Northstar assessment receive a results page at the end of every assessment (sample below). Use the results page to identify the skills that need improvement. Each skill listed on the results page corresponds to a Northstar standard. The skills listed under the left-hand (green) column are skills that have been mastered while the skills listed under the right-hand (red) column are ones that need to be improved. After the skills needing improvement have been identified, navigate to the appropriate module page using the tabs above (for example, the learner in the sample below would navigate to the tab for Module 4: Using Email). Use the table on each individual module page to identify the needed skills, and then simply follow the links to online learning resources that will provide instruction on those skills.  Take the NorthStar Assesment Now


Northstar is used in many Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs and junior colleges to assess students’ computer skills. The standards have been adopted as statewide digital literacy standards by Minnesota Adult Basic Education, and been integrated into the new Minnesota Adult Diploma. They are also used by nearly all ABE programs in Rhode Island, as well as in many other states.

What do educators say?

“We are using Northstar as part of the requirements for the new State Diploma at the Blaine Learning Lab…They seem really excited to get this certification. They also have to write a resume to get this diploma, and they are putting the NDLA on their resumes under Special Skills. Many of these students do not have a lot of items to put on a resume that are impressive, so this has been something they are very proud of and has come in handy to enhance their resumes…Earning this certification has been a very positive experience for all of them!”

Shelley Tallman
State Diploma/GED Teacher

“I have used and know that our TAKODA Prep has used this Northstar Standards tool to assess the progress of our students. It is good and well built. As an educator, I like how this tool divides up the material covered. It helps the novice and experienced learner see for themselves where they are and how they do in IT matters.

“It is very useful also as a tool to evaluate if a prospective student is up to par on their skills as they on-board to our school offerings…this allows us as instructors to be aware and watch for students who maybe more challenged by the level of training that we offer out of the gate.

Bert Christensen
TAKODA Institute of Higher Education
A Division of American Indian OIC

 Earn your Northstar certificates today! 

Did you know you can earn earn a certificate in one or all of the test areas when you pass an assessment with a score of 85% or better? The certificates provide a credential for employment. You may take the test as many times as necessary to earn the certificate. 

To earn a certificate, you must take each test at an approved sponsoring site under proctored supervisionThe Community Builder is an approved sponsoring site for the Northstar certificate program. Ask your librarian for more information on taking an assessment at the library today!

If you are outside of the Canyon County Area, you can find a list of other approved sponsoring sites here.

Not at a Northstar sponsoring site? You can still take the assessments for free online now.                                                                                         Español


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