DigCompSAT: A Self-reflection Tool for DigComp
Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION
1.1 DigComp and the general aims of the DigCompSAT project
The European Digital Framew ork (DigComp) was originally developed by the Joint Research Centre, European
Commission, in 2013 to identify and define the digital competence that is relevant for all citizens who live and
work in Europe today.1
The DigComp framework (in the 2.1 version) identifies 5 main areas of digital com petence which comprise 21
specific competences; it provides a ti tle and short description for each of them and defines how they are
articulated at 8 proficiency levels and 4 macro-levels (foundation, int ermediate, advanced and expert); it
provides examples of each competence in two application scenarios (employment and ed ucation).
European citizens are not expected to achieve the highest proficiency level in all 21 DigComp competences, as
digital competence is instrumental to achieve personal, social and professional goals, which differ across
individuals, vary over the lifetime and depend on living and working circumstances. Nevertheless, DigComp
offers a cle ar view of the wide range of knowledge, skills and attitudes related to the use of digital devices
and services that are needed to achieve a full participation in our society. It can be used therefore to assess
one’s strengths and weaknesses in t his domain, hence one’s potential for improvement . Moreover, it can be
used to identify the training needed in response to one’s personal development aims, job-related requests and
The DigCompSAT project was launched to design and trial an Item Bank of questions covering all 21
competences of DigComp2.1, to be used in a self-administered test that should aim at:
1. assessing the level of respondents’ proficiency in each of the 5 competence areas , and highlighting
strengths and weaknesses in the specific competences;
2. enhancing respondents’ general awareness and understanding of the articulation of digital competence
according to the DigComp framework.
A key additional factor taken into account in the development of the Item Bank and the field trials was the
time constraint, it should be at the lower end of an 20-30 minutes interval, in order to minimize the
probability of users dropping out too early, leaving it incomplete. This requirement, matched with t he above
aims and other conditions, significantly affected the design of the Item bank, as illustrated in the next chapters.
To summarize the purpose of the Item Bank, we propose the notion of a self-reflection tool, even though
the official and common-use name of the project refers to a ‘self-assessment tool’ (SAT).
It should be stressed that this tool is not intended to measure the users’ current digital comp etence
in view of its certification or similar purposes. This would require a different approach from that adopted
in this project in terms of: test delivery mode (which should be in presence and under controlled conditions
rather than self-administered); amount and type of content/questions (a significant number of knowledge
1 The DigComp framework is in its third edition, all available at https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/digcomp. A sequential numbering
scheme of two numbers (major, minor) is used to keep track of different versions of DigComp. When there is a significant
change in the conceptual reference model, the first number (major) is changed (i.e. 1.0 to 2.0). Improvements or integrations
of specific aspects are reflected in the number after the comma (e.g. 2.0 to 2.1).
The version published in 2013 is considered 1.0. The version published in June 2016 is DigComp 2.0 as it includes an update
of the conceptual model and new vocabulary. The version published in May 2017 is DigComp 2.1 and includes an update
of proficiency levels and examples.