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July 10, 2001

Coastal Carolina University's Division of Extended Learning and Public Services will administer the Tek.Xam proficiency examination, an online test that measures technology and problem-solving skills. A prep course will be offered prior to the exam, which will be given during the spring 2002 semester.

"The Tek.Xam gives students and those already in the work force the opportunity to prove just how good they are at problem-solving and using a computer," said Peter Balsamo, dean of Coastal's Division of Extended Learning and Public Services. "Those who do well on the test can prove to current and prospective employers that they are ready to work with technological challenges in a variety of different job situations."

Tek.Xam tests a person's ability to synthesize and analyze data, draw conclusions, and present those conclusions using a variety of common computer applications. During the test participants will use the Internet for information gathering and analysis and will be asked to put together a simple Web site.

Participants will also have to prepare a spreadsheet and chart the data, develop a multi-page presentation, and a word processing document. In addition, they will be required to answer questions about a wide range of computer concepts related to networking, hardware and software as well as the key legal and ethical issues associated with the use of this technology.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, within three years 95 percent of all new jobs nationwide will require a moderate, if not keen, knowledge of computer systems and functions, with a special emphasis on Internet know-how.

"Liberal arts students, in particular, will benefit from the Tek.Xam test because it measures proficiency in skill areas not indicated by their field of study, thereby increasing the diversity of positions for which a student may apply," said Balsamo. "That will make students more valuable to prospective employers from many business sectors."

Tek.Xam was created by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC).

Interested participants can take a sample test, as well as prepare for the test with the online study guide, at For more information about the Tek.Xam proficiency exam at Coastal, contact Balsamo at 349-2648.