Online Writing Assessment Tests Present Issues

Is Tennessee testing student writing skills or typing skills?

Beginning this next school year, the writing assessment tests for eighth grade students will be done online instead of with pencil and paper. There are some issues, as they say.

Keyboarding isn’t taught until ninth grade and most eighth-graders’ typing skills consist of phone texting with their thumbs. Due to the number of computers available, the writing tests will be done over a week-long period instead of the current practice of giving all the tests on the same day.

The same-day rule had been for security in the testing program. Now students taking the test late in the week could have received help from students who take it early. Local systems are still talking with the state department of education. Same-day tests use the same essay question, to which the student writes a five-paragraph response. If the same question is used over a week-long period, later tested students would have an advantage. But if it isn’t the same question, is it a standardized test?

Discussions continue.

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