Computer Tests Widen Writing Achievement Gap for Low-Income Kids

by ParentCo. January 12, 2016

The Department of Education wants to move students to computerized assessments. They're faster, easier and cheaper to grade than hand-written tests.

However, as highlighted by (@jillbarshay) for Hechingerreport.org, a 2012 U.S. Department of Education study reveals a potentially major flaw with this plan: Low-income kids don't get as much practice typing or writing on a computer as higher-income kids. When it's time to test their writing skills on a computer, the lower-income kids are slower and less able to write because they don't know how to effectively type and edit with a computer keyboard vs higher-income kids who have better access to computers. When tested with a pencil and paper, low-income students produced better writing using than they did with the computer. Simply put, the "Performance of fourth-grade students in the 2012 NAEP computer-based writing pilot assessment" found that "the use of the computer may have widened the writing achievement gap." As quoted on Hechingerreport.org, Steve Graham, a professor at Arizona State University said:

"Your familiarity with the tool makes a difference. They actually do better writing by hand if they’re less experienced . And if they’re more experienced, then there may actually be an advantage toward writing on the computer.”

Solutions might include teaching kids how to type efficiently on a computer keyboard. This also includes teaching how to cut, paste, delete and edit in a digital document.
Source: Using computers widens the achievement gap in writing, a federal study finds on Hechingerreport.org



ParentCo.

Author



Also in Conversations

aerial view family members sweeping the road
No, Really, Your Kids Need to Do Chores

by Mark Oliver

As a member of the household, and in the interest of building skills that they'll need for a lifetime, your kids should be doing chores. Here's the case for why.

Continue Reading

baby playing
5 Things to Know about Baby’s First Steps

by Hannah Howard

For your little one, walking means entering a whole new stage of life, where the world is their oyster. Here’s what to know as your little one learns to walk.

Continue Reading

girl with flower
7 Mess-free Ways to Teach your Child about the Environment

by Maria Dontas

If you’re a busy parent looking for easy, dirt-free ways to celebrate our Earth with your child all year long, here are 7 fun, simple ideas to try with your family.

Continue Reading