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Assessment Questions

The following questions, taken from the Educator's Guide to Assessing the Cost of Donated Computers by the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) (, can be used as an aid in determining whether to accept or not accept computer that are offered to your school or institution as donations.


  • Will the acceptance of this hardware preclude the purchase of more current technologies?
  • Will the acceptance of this hardware send the right message to your students and community?
  • Will the benefits to the donating institution or business outweigh the problems faced when the equipment is used in an instructional setting?


  • Will the computer run the software that you currently have?
  • Does it come loaded with software?
  • Has this software been transferred to the school per the specifications of the license agreement? (Although all license agreements vary, generally you should receive a copy of the license, original manual, and original diskettes.)
  • If not, do you have legal copies of the manuals?
  • If not, what is the cost of getting legal copies?
  • Does the existing software meet your needs?
  • Does it fit into your existing educational programme?
  • Do your teachers and students need training to use it?
  • What's the cost of developing a teaching programme that takes advantage of the software?


  • Is the donated computer a brand and model you already have?
  • Does the donated computer work?
  • If not, what will it cost to fix?
  • If it would be cost prohibitive to repair, could some of the parts be used to upgrade equipment you already have?
  • Does it have upgrades and peripherals you are using?
  • If not, what will they cost to install?
  • Is it a current model?
  • What will maintenance cost?
  • Are there parts still available for the hardware?

Instructional Needs

  • Can the hardware run the software you use to support instruction today?
  • If necessary, can the hardware be modified cost-effectively to run the software you use to support instruction today?
  • Is the hardware useful for drill and practice, simulation, multimedia, or other everyday classroom tasks?
  • Does the hardware (lack of) speed impact the use of instructional time and materials?
  • Is the hardware able to be used without additional student instruction?
  • Is the hardware "student-proof"?
  • Does the hardware work with the peripherals and software to support students with special needs?
  • Is the hardware the best instructional tool for use in your classroom?