Nation’s Report Card on Writing: Computers Help Regardless of Income, but Boys are Falling Behind

2012 marked the first year that 8th and 12th grade students were assessed for their performance in writing (persuasive, expository, and narrative) using computers (previous assessments had all been pencil and paper). Computer-assisted writing showed the benefits of drafting and revision. For the complete report, see here. — Kelly Searsmith

Nation’s Report Card: Writing test shows gender gap

by Donna Krache / CNN / 17 September 2012

When it comes to writing, girls are better than boys.

That’s a generalization, but it’s one that is supported by the latest writing test from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), better known as the Nation’s Report Card.

The test, taken by 24,100 eighth-graders and 28,100 students in the 12th grade, was administered in early 2011. NAEP tests in different subjects have been given to students in the U.S. since 1969.  This year, however, marked the first time that the writing test was computer-based.  Students were able to take advantage of editing software and other writing tools, such as spell check and a thesaurus, as they crafted their writing samples.

Since this was the first large-scale writing assessment designed to be taken on a computer, the National Assessment Governing Board, which administers the NAEP, said that it could not make comparisons to previous “paper and pencil” writing tests.

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