NAEP Writing Exams Going Digital in 2011The article concludes with a quote from NCTE president-elect Kathi Yancey: The framework "provides for a more rhetorical view of writing, where purpose and audience are at the center of writing tasks.” The framework also “invites students as writers to compose at the keyboard,” she added, “which provides a direct link to the kind of composing writers do in college and in the workplace, thus bringing this assessment in line with lifelong composing practices.”
By Lynn Olson
Starting in 2011, the National Assessment of Educational Progress will test how well students in grades 8 and 12 can write on computers, rather than with the old schoolhouse standbys of pencils and paper.
The board that oversees NAEP, called “the nation’s report card,” unanimously approved the change from handwritten to computerized exams as part of a new framework for the writing assessment adopted at a March 1-3 meeting in Nashville, Tenn.
In 4th grade, writing will still be tested using a paper-and-pencil format in 2011, in part because many elementary students currently lack keyboarding skills and experience. But the framework encourages a computer-based writing assessment for that grade as well by 2019.
The National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the federally sponsored assessment, approved the changes to reflect the ways in which technology has changed the way people write and the kinds of writing they do.
According to the 2011 NAEP Writing Framework, 100 million blogs—online journals—now exist worldwide, and 171 billion e-mail messages are sent daily. Future writing instruction, it says, must take into account how computers affect both the writing process and the types of text produced.
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