NAEP outsources evaluation to computers.

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) used computers to assess students’ writing.

NAEP WRITING EVALUATIONS

K12 TEACHER / PARENT / STUDENT TIPS ON HOW TO WRITE

How to write good english.
NAEP scores in reading and math have not really improved over 30 years, despite billions of dollars spent in K-12 education. Only 30% of 4th graders are proficient readers, 26% proficient in math, 18% proficient in history, and the USA ranks significantly lower than other nations in science and math achievement. 42 million adults in the US are “functionally literate,” meaning that they can’t read the front page of the newspaper. 6/20/2006 High School Graduation Rates
What Size Community Does it Take to Raise a Child’s Test Scores? Objective
To see if there is a relationship between the population of a city and student achievement at the middle school level in California.
For the first time in history, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) used computers to assess students’ writing, with national samples of eighth- and twelfth-grade students.  More than 75% of students at those grade levels performed at or above the Basic achievement level, meaning that they have at least partial mastery of the knowledge and skills needed to communicate clearly in writing.  However, only about one-quarter of eighth- and twelfth-grade students performed at or above the Proficient level, meaning that they demonstrate solid academic performance.
[ … “Children are generally ready to be introduced to writing — and have the necessary motor and visual skills — sometime during kindergarten. ] In fact, not even every kindergartner is prepared to write, say the experts, all of whom advocate waiting until a student is ready and receptive.]

The “Nation’s Report Card: Writing 2011”

asked students to write for various purposes and communicate to different audiences.
http://nationsreportcard.gov/writing_2011/
Students were presented with a range of interactive tasks that included audio or video segments, newspaper articles, data from real world settings, and other materials on which to base their writing.  Each student was given two writing tasks and had 30 minutes to complete each one.  For both grades, students’ writing was scored on a six-point scale, ranging from “effective” to “little/no skill.”  This scoring acknowledges that students were being evaluated on their first-draft writing in an “on demand” situation and not on their final, polished pieces of writing.  The assessment measures how well students develop, organize, and use language to convey ideas.  The computer-based testing format allowed NAEP to gather data on the extent to which students used commonly available word processing tools, like spell check and copy, cut, and paste.
Among the additional findings:

  • At both grades, African-American and Hispanic students had lower average scores than white and Asian students and students of two or more races, and female students outscored male students.
  • At both grades, students who used the Backspace key and thesaurus tool more frequently scored higher than those who engaged in these actions less frequently.
  • Twelfth-grade students who write four- to five-pages a week for English/language arts homework scored higher than those who write fewer pages.

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