Saturday, September 22, 2012


From USDE:

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.

The “Nation’s Report Card: Writing 2011” asked students to write for various purposes and communicate to different audiences. 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.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO (Note: A recording of the webinar discussing the results will be posted shortly at

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