CRITERIA FOR THE EVALUATION OF SOFTWARE.
Before purchasing or using software, it is important that it is evaluated to ensure that it is suitable for use in a particular situation. To assist with this evaluation, many forms have been devised, ranging from a simple checklist to forms that are five or six pages in length. These forms can be found in computer magazines or educational computing journals.

The following list contains the main factors that should be considered as a piece of software is evaluated.

SCREEN FORMAT
Is the student presented with a clear, well defined screen that is easy to read or is the screen "cluttered"?
Is there unnecessary scrolling or "screen jumps"?
Is there suitable formatting of text, e.g. centred, double spaced, etc.?
Are words split at the end of a line?
Is there correct spelling, grammar and punctuation at all times?
Is there too much text?

INSTRUCTIONS
Are they suitable for the intended user?
Can they be by-passed if the user is familiar with the program?
Who dictates the speed of reading, the programmer or the user?

INPUT
Is it helpful to call the user by name?
Does the program present good prompts so the user knows the format of the input?
Does the program check for valid input and reject inappropriate responses without giving error messages?
Does the program "crash" if inappropriate responses are typed?
Can input be corrected or altered before processing?

FEEDBACK
Is the program designed to give feedback to the user?
If so, does the program provide useful feedback to the user?
Are feedback routines too long?
Are facetious comments included in the feedback?
Is the feedback for incorrect responses attractive to the user, thus encouraging incorrect answers?
Is there a meaningful (true) HELP routine or HELP screen?

FLEXIBILITY
Are there a variety of activites included in the software or is the number of activities limited?
Can the parameters and difficulty levels of the tasks be easily altered by the teacher or student?
Can skill levels be easily changed?
Can the program be easily adapted for new data?

FEATURES
Does the program fully utilize the features of a microcomputer such as graphics, sound, random number generator, or built in programming functions?
Have these features been overused?
Could this assignment or program be presented more effectively using another medium, e.g. photocopy handout, movie?

EDUCATIONAL VALUE
Does the program have a clear objective and complement the curriculum?
Is the program appropriate to the School Board's curriculum and philosophy?
Is the content accurate?
Is it appropriate for the intended user, e.g. reading level, assumed knowledge and skills?
What value positions are implied in the software, e.g. hangman, shooting games?
Is it free of racial and religious prejudice, as well as sex stereotyping?
Is the anticipated length of the program suitable for the intended user?

DOCUMENTATION
Is the documentation included in the software or available in a manual or on the Internet?
Does it have sufficient detail? Is it accurate? Is it easy to follow?

ADDITIONAL CRITERIA
Does the program summarize the student's performance?
Can the teacher control which activities the students will access?
Is there interesting and/or original presentation of material?