Do youngest students type well enough for Common Core examinations?

Oct 1, 2013 by

NEW ORLEANS – Schools across the country implementing the national Common Core standards may soon run up against an obvious problem with the program’s online assessments: not all students can type.

Kid on iPadThat will be a problem for many students as tests aligned with Common Core will require students in fourth grade to type an entire page in one sitting, and fifth-graders will need to type two full pages,  according to The Hechinger Report.

“Schools have been wired for well over a decade and most secondary college students are expected to type, rather than handwrite, their essays,” according to the publication. “But asking students as young as eight or nine to type several paragraphs on a standardized test will challenge schools – and students – in new ways.”

The realization that many young students can’t type has prompted some New Orleans schools to contemplate offering keyboarding and computer classes to younger students, in an effort to prevent the implementation of Common Core assessments from becoming a nightmare.

Some educators believe the increased exposure of middle-class students to devices like iPads and smartphones may put poor students who don’t have access to those devices at a disadvantage, particularly in places like New Orleans were nearly half of the students live in poverty, according to the Report.

“I’ve heard professional development leaders say most kids have been on iPads since they were 2,” Katie Patterson, director of Common Core strategy for the nonprofit New Schools for New Orleans, told the news site. “That’s not a true statement for kids in poverty.”

Other educators believe that regardless of students’ exposure to touch screen devices, it’s not the same as typing, using a mouse or other computer operations like clicking and dragging.

Some New Orleans charter schools have begun administering internal tests to begin to prepare students for Common Core aligned online assessments down the road. Teachers predicted kindergarten students would be “totally discombobulated” by the online assessments, but the problem wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be.

“They just see computers as a game,” Susan Jurkunas, systems accountability officer at the Choice Foundation, told the Report, though she acknowledged the youngest students struggled with the mouse and typing.

“Kids would hunt and peck really fast,” she said.

Parents like Tania Nyman, who has two sons in Baton Rouge public schools, aren’t convinced, however, that spending more class time on typing simply to satisfy testing requirements for Common Core is worth the effort.

“If my son wants to learn to type on his own volition, I would say, ‘Sure go ahead honey,’” Nyman said. “But if it’s only because online tests make it easier for companies to grade, I would ask, ‘Is it really a practical skill that third-graders need?’”

Do youngest students type well enough for Common Core examinations? – powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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