The Standards

Below are the Northstar standards for each module. We are updating each module's standards as we develop the 2.0 version. Modules that we have updated, have "2.0" noted next to their name below. You can optionally view a PDF of these standards.

Basic Computer Skills (2.0)

  1. Distinguish between different types of devices (tablets, desktop and laptop computers)
  2. Identify specific computer hardware (system unit, monitor, printer, keyboard, mouse or touchpad, ports, touchscreen)
  3. Log on to and shut down a computer
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of keys on keyboard (Enter, Shift, Control, Backspace, Delete, Arrow Keys, Tab, Caps Lock, Number Lock)
  5. Identify types of mice: mouse, touchpad, touchscreen
  6. Identify mouse pointer shapes and the functions they represent (spinning wheel (loading), iBeam (text), arrow (basic clicking), hand pointer (clickable links))
  7. Demonstrate knowledge and appropriate use of mouse clicks (right­ click, left­ click, and double click)
  8. Drag and Drop
  9. Utilize common controls for screen interaction (selecting checkboxes, using drop­down menus, scrolling)
  10. Access and control audio output features (volume, mute, speakers and headphones)
  11. Identify icons on desktop
  12. Demonstrate ability to trash and retrieve items using the trash or recycle bin
  13. Demonstrate understanding that it is possible to customize a computer for increased accessibility (customizing a mouse for left-handed use and sensitivity, and changing screen resolution on a monitor)
  14. Demonstrate understanding that software programs are upgraded periodically to fix bugs and increase utility, and that different versions may be installed on different computers
  15. Identify mechanisms for storing files (flash drives, hard drives, cloud-based storage)
  16. Identify whether or not a computer is connected to the internet
  17. Identify and locate camera and mic on laptops, tablets

Internet Basics

  1. Identify an Internet Service Provider and ways to connect to the Internet.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of browsers and identify commonly used browsers.
  3. Identify a website.
  4. Identify a homepage.
  5. Identify common domain types.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of ways to increase Internet safety for children.
  7. Demonstrate knowledge of antivirus software.
  8. Avoid providing financial information unless on a secured website.
  9. Correctly enter a security code.
  10. Fill out an online form.
  11. Identify the address bar and enter a URL address.
  12. Identify browser toolbar buttons and use them correctly.
  13. Identify search engines and enter search terms into the search engine.
  14. Use scroll bars.
  15. Use a hyperlink to access other webpages.
  16. Create a new tab, open a webpage in a tab, and move between tabs.
  17. Identify a pop-up window and close it.
  18. Enable an individual pop up window.


  1. Identify the operating system used by a computer.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the Windows Start menu.
  3. Identify drives on a computer.
  4. Access the help menu.
  5. Use 'Search' to locate a file, program, or document.
  6. Identify and demonstrate knowledge of basic office software programs. Identify their corresponding file extensions.
  7. Identify the desktop.
  8. Identify the taskbar.
  9. Minimize and maximize windows.
  10. Open and exit programs.
  11. Open, close and switch between windows.
  12. Demonstrate knowledge of Windows file organizational system.
  13. Delete documents or files.
  14. Shutdown, restart, and log off a computer.

Mac OS X

  1. Identify the operating system.
  2. Identify the Dock.
  3. Identify the Menu Bar.
  4. Identify the desktop.
  5. Use Finder to locate files, folders, and applications.
  6. Move and delete documents or files.
  7. Identify devices on a computer.
  8. Open applications using the Application Folder.
  9. Minimize and expand windows.
  10. Open applications using the Dock.
  11. Close and switch between applications.
  12. Quit an application.
  13. Demonstrate knowledge of System Preferences.
  14. Demonstrate knowledge of Dashboard.
  15. Use the help menu.
  16. Use "Spotlight" to locate a document.
  17. Log out and shutdown a computer.


  1. Define email.
  2. Tell the difference between a URL and an email address.
  3. Register for a new email account.
  4. Log into email.
  5. Address an email and create an email message. Then, Send an email.
  6. Open an email and reply to all.
  7. Forward an email.
  8. Add an attachment to an email.
  9. Open an attachment in an email.
  10. Delete an email and retrieve an email from the trash.
  11. Understand basics of email etiquette.
  12. Use caution when opening an email from an unfamiliar source.
  13. Avoid giving out personal information to unfamiliar people.
  14. Identify and delete junk mail, including spam.
  15. Be selective and cautious about forwarding email to large groups of people.
  16. Sign out of email.
  17. Define computer virus.


  1. Open a new or existing document.
  2. Identify the Ribbon.
  3. Use Save As to save to a particular folder and name the document.
  4. Identify file extensions.
  5. Use Spelling and Grammar check.
  6. Format the size, color and type of font.
  7. Set single or double spacing.
  8. Align text.
  9. Use bullets and automatic numbering.
  10. Use the Undo button.
  11. Cut, copy and paste.
  12. Set margins.
  13. Select portrait or landscape.
  14. Demonstrate knowledge of the difference between "Save" and "Save As" functions.
  15. Print.
  16. Save and close a document.

Social Media

  1. Identify different types of social media and their primary functions (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter).
  2. Create a new account on a social media network.
  3. Recognize information posted by others or online or on social media networks that may present a risk to you (user as consumer of information).
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of managing "friends" on Facebook: adding friends or accepting/declining "friend" requests.
  5. Demonstrate an awareness that social media accounts have privacy settings that can be set by users.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the consequences of "liking" something.
  7. Share content by uploading media.
  8. Identify information that is unwise to post and/or upload on a social media (too much personal sharing, inappropriate photos/comments) (User as publisher of information).
  9. Distinguish between public and private "spaces" on social media sites (ex: Facebook messages and Facebook wall).
  10. Post, share, like or comment on content.
  11. Demonstrate knowledge of the permanence of anything posted on the internet.


  1. Open a workbook.
  2. Identify parts of Excel Screen: ribbon, formula bar, active cell, name box, column letter, row number.
  3. Locate a cell.
  4. Identify sheet tabs, create a new tab, and rearrange tabs.
  5. Name worksheets.
  6. Create headings and freeze them.
  7. Format cells: bold, underline, size, merge and center, wrap text, number (currency, time, percentages, etc.)
  8. Adjust rows and columns.
  9. Enter data in a cell.
  10. Copy and move cell entries.
  11. Choose page orientation.
  12. Select a print area and print.
  13. Save and name workbook.
  14. Insert and delete rows and columns.
  15. Write a formula in the formula bar (-, +, *, /).
  16. Use Auto Fill.
  17. Use AutoSum (Sum, average, etc.).
  18. Select a range.
  19. Sort data (least to greatest, alphabetically, etc.).
  20. Create a graph using data.
  21. Save and close workbook using the quick access toolbar.


  1. Open a new or existing PowerPoint presentation.
  2. Identify parts of the PowerPoint Screen: slide navigation pane, slide pane, notes, the ribbon, quick access toolbar, and scroll bars.
  3. Insert new slides, duplicate, or reuse slides.
  4. Manage text (insert, delete, copy, cut and paste, drag and drop, format, and use spellcheck).
  5. Apply or change a theme.
  6. Use zoom control.
  7. Insert items into a presentation, resize, and adjust them (video, chart, pictures, clip art, screenshots).
  8. Add a textbox, adjust it, resize it, or delete it.
  9. Change the view of slides (normal, slide sorter, reading view, slideshow view).
  10. Insert, delete and move slides using slide navigation pane.
  11. Use the quick access toolbar.
  12. Apply and customize slide transitions (select, preview, add sound, automatic advance).
  13. Understand the basics of PowerPoint etiquette (limited text, text that stands out on background, clear titles)
  14. Play a slideshow, advance through the slides, and end slideshow (using screen toolbar features).
  15. Save a presentation as a .ppt, .pdf, .png, etc.
  16. Create handouts.
  17. Print a presentation.

Information Literacy

  1. Define a problem, formulate a question, or identify a decision that needs to be made.
  2. Identify purpose for accessing information; how the information will help solve the problem, answer the question, help to make a decision, help with accomplishing a goal or objective.
  3. Define the kind of information needed to complete the task.
  4. Identify different types and formats of information found online (articles, databases, images, videos, etc.).
  5. Plan steps required to solve the problem or accomplish the task.
  6. Recognize the costs, in time or money, and benefits of accessing different sources of information (article, newspaper, consumer reports).
  7. Demonstrate use of efficient search strategies to locate varied resources, including refining search to hone in on relevant information found in a previous search.
  8. Locate potentially relevant information in media found online, including text, video, images, etc. Locate the source of the information.
  9. Make use of hyperlinks to follow desired/required path of information.
  10. Demonstrate basic understanding of use of non-Internet sources of information (personal documents, Excel spreadsheet, etc).
  11. Discern between relevant and non-relevant information in an information source and select the information that addresses the issue that motivated the search.
  12. Determine the quality of information by identifying bias, assessing the reliability of sources, and identifying the impact of context.
  13. File/store information in a format that facilitates ease of access for future use (e.g., file naming, folder organization, bookmarking, etc.)
  14. Monitor extent to which information solves a problem and know when additional information is needed.
  15. Synthesize relevant information from one or more sources.
  16. Integrate new information into current knowledge and use it to support understanding, views, perspectives, or opinions.
  17. Act on information to solve basic problems or answer a question.
  18. Select appropriate format for sharing information, based on audience and purpose, and distribute to intended audience.
  19. Evaluate the result of gaining/using the information. Was the question answered? Was the problem solved? Was a better decision made? Was a goal or objective met?

If you need to reference our old standards from before Northstar 2.0, you can download them.

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