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IC3 Certification | Digital Literacy

IC3 Spark vs. IC3 GS6: Which Digital Literacy Certification is Best?

August 10th, 2021 | 6 min. read

Bri Stauffer

Bri Stauffer

For nearly 10 years, Bri has focused on creating content to address the questions and concerns educators have about teaching classes, preparing students for certifications, and making the most of the iCEV curriculum system.

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If you’re teaching digital literacy in your classroom, it’s likely that you want to implement a certification that showcases your students’ skills and knowledge.

One of the most popular digital literacy certifications available is the IC3 Digital Literacy certification program from Certiport.

But when teachers dive a little deeper, they realize Certiport offers multiple IC3 certification options! 

As a curriculum developer that offers digital literacy and career readiness curriculum, teachers often ask for which IC3 certification we would recommend for their needs.

In this article, you’ll learn the difference between IC3 Spark and IC3 GS6 digital literacy certifications to help you decide which option is right for your students.

What Is the IC3 Spark Certification and Who Is It a Good Fit For?

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The IC3 Spark Certification focuses on three overarching areas of digital literacy:

  1. Computing Fundamentals
  2. Living Online
  3. Key Applications

These areas are broken down into 12 subsections, referred to as “objective domains.” Each domain includes objectives that outline what your students need to know for each topic.

The 12 objective domains found on the IC3 Spark certification exam are:

    1. Operating System Basics - This domain includes three objectives focused on the fundamentals of working on a computer.
    2. Computer Hardware and Concepts - This domain has three objectives related to the physical components found in computers.
    3. Computer Software and Concepts - This domain includes one objective related to using the right software for designated tasks.
    4. Common Application Features - This domain has four objectives focused on the standard features and navigation options found within a computer applications suite.
    5. Word Processing Activities - This domain includes two objectives related to creating documents in Microsoft Word.
    6. Spreadsheet Activities - This domain has two objectives focused on creating spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel.
    7. Presentation Activities - This domain includes objectives related to using Microsoft PowerPoint.
    8. Browsers - This domain has two objectives that help students learn the basics of using web browsers and the Internet.
    9. Digital Communication - This domain includes two objectives on the common ways technology is used for communication.
    10. Digital Citizenship - This domain includes two objectives focused on being responsible and ethical when using technology.
    11. Safe Computing - This domain has one objective focused on ways to stay safe when using the Internet.
    12. Research Fluency - This domain includes one objective related to students’ knowledge of finding information on the Internet.

On exam day, your students will complete a 45 question exam based on the objectives within each domain.

When students pass the IC3 Spark exam, they receive an IC3 Spark Global Digital Literacy Certificate to acknowledge their accomplishment.

Overall the IC3 Spark certification is a digital literacy certification designed for younger students who are unfamiliar with computers, the Internet, and other digital concepts.

If you teach an introductory middle school class and are looking for an end of course assessment, the IC3 Spark exam is an excellent way for you to measure the knowledge of your students.

Think the IC3 Spark is right for you? Read this in-depth review!

What Is the IC3 GS6 Certification and Who Is It a Good Fit For?

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The IC3 GS6 Digital Literacy Certification program helps learners navigate and thrive in our digital world by measuring student knowledge across seven objective domains:

  1. Technology Basics
  2. Digital Citizenship
  3. Information Management
  4. Content Creation
  5. Communication
  6. Collaboration
  7. Safety and Security

Unlike the previous version of the IC3 certification, the IC3 GS6 exams are organized according to the level of knowledge needed to earn the certificate:

  • The IC3 GS6 Level 1 exam focuses on the foundational knowledge and concepts of digital literacy.
  • The IC3 GS6 Level 2 exam certifies a student’s working knowledge of each of the seven domains by testing their ability to complete basic tasks online and within varying applications. 
  • The IC3 GS6 Level 3 exam requires students to show mastery of digital literacy skills and concepts by managing systems, collaboration, and troubleshooting while guiding others. 

When a student passes each exam, they earn the IC3 GS6 certificate for that level. 

In addition, if a student successfully passes all three certification exams, they earn a master IC3 GS6 certificate and badge to display.

Overall, the IC3 GS6 is a good option for high school students who are comfortable with and understand digital literacy topics and skills. 

However the exam level that you choose will depend on your student’s experience and understanding of the seven objective domains. Here’s our general recommendation:

  • IC3 GS6 Level 1 exam is a good fit for students who are new to digital literacy and citizenship concepts.
  • The IC3 GS6 Level 2 exam is a good fit for students who have had hands-on experience working with technology as it requires candidates to complete specific tasks.
  • The IC3 GS6 Level 3 exam is a good option for students who are comfortable with and understand advanced digital literacy topics and skills.

To see the detailed breakdown of each IC3 GS6 exam’s objectives, read the article: What Is the IC3 GS6 Certification?

Which Digital Literacy Certification Is Right for Your Students?

With all of this information about IC3 Spark and IC3 GS5, how are you supposed to decide which one to invest in?

Ultimately, only you know what would work best for your students. However, here are a few points to consider when deciding.

The IC3 Spark Certification is perfect for a middle school teacher with students who aren’t very familiar with computers, digital literacy, and other related concepts.

The IC3 GS6 exams are more appropriate for high schoolers, and we recommend reviewing each level of certification to determine how they might fit into your program.

Start Teaching Digital Literacy and Help Your Students Succeed

After reading this article, you should have a good idea of which digital literacy certification you want to add to your courses, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle.

You also need to teach those skills and concepts to prepare your students for certification success!

While most teachers will lean toward purchasing the IC3 test prep material, there’s so much more to preparing your students than giving them practice tests.

That’s why thousands of teachers have implemented the Business&ITCenter21 digital curriculum in their computer applications and career readiness classes.

“Business&ITCenter21 is a great program that allows you to teach and model the skills you are covering, then immediately let the students jump in and follow the lessons and activities to further develop their skills.”

Reginald Patterson, Computer Teacher
Polk County Public Schools, FL

With nearly 700 hours of curriculum content, Business&ITCenter21 can make your life easier and set your students up for success both on the IC3 exams and in their careers.

Wondering if Business&ITCenter21 is a good fit for you and your students?

Click below to learn more about teaching digital literacy and career readiness in your classroom with Business&ITCenter21:

Explore the Business&ITCenter21 Catalog