Last year, for the first time ever, the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) annual writing test was administered on computers.
The traditionally pencil and paper test was changed to keep up with the trend in increased amounts of technology in the classroom and to get a better assessment of students’ progress.
The results of the test were released last week. Across the country, 8th and 12th grade students were tested in a variety of ways to find out how proficient students in the Untied Stare are in writing. The results were encouraging, but also very interesting.
The test results show that 27 percent of all 8th and 12th grade students are at or above a proficient level of writing. Furthermore, 80 percent of 8th graders and 79 percent of 12th graders are at or above a basic writing level. Interestingly, in both grades, female students scored higher than male students.
How Technology Impacts Our Children’s’ Writing
One benefit of administering the NAEP test on a computer is that it allows educators to gain insight on how students use computers as they write and what kind of impact it has on their writing.
The NAEP test shows that the top five computer tools used by the test takers were:
- Expand Response
- Spell-check connections acceptance
- Collapse Prompt
- Expand Prompt
The test also showed that the 29 percent of students who used the thesaurus while taking the assessment scored higher than those who did not.
What the Results Mean
The results of the NAEP test show that in general, students lack writing proficiency. Interestingly, the results also show that students who used the technology more scored higher. There are many ways to interpret these findings, but there are a few general take always we can keep in mind.
First, students need more writing training in general. Being able to write well is a skill students will need as they enroll in college, graduate and begin looking for a job. Strong writers are also successful in their careers.
Second, the results of the NAEP show that the trend of more technology in the classroom is a positive one. Students who are able to grasp technology skills are able to transfer them and use them to hone their writing skills.
Overall, the Nation’s Report card shows that out country’s students need solid writing training and that they are adept at using technology as they write.