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

two boys watching tv
5 Reasons to Let Toddlers Watch TV

by Julie Garwood

Backed by lived experience, grace from fellow wise parents, and research, here are five reasons to allow young children to indulge in some screen time.

Continue Reading

Hands splashing on water
5 Sensory Experiences That Can Enhance Learning and Benefit Any Kid

by ParentCo.

Sensory experiences can help increase focus and concentration and calm anxiety and hyperactivity in all kids- not just those with special needs.

Continue Reading

child playing play musical instrument
4 Ways to Introduce Your Kids to Classical Music

by ParentCo.

Research suggests that classical music can have positive effects for children, including memory development, creativity, and self-expression. Plus, it's fun!

Continue Reading