Legislators worry that students can’t type fast enough for testing

Some Tennessee lawmakers worry young students won’t be ready to type out all their answers on the state’s new standardized test, known as TNReady, reports WPLN.

Senators aired their concerns at a hearing Tuesday as the Department of Education makes the switch from bubble sheets and number two pencils to keyboards and computers.

The concern has been that Tennessee school districts don’t have enough computers or Internet access to make the digital conversion. But now Sen. Joey Henlsey of Hohenwald wonders if kids have enough experience keyboarding.

State testing will start with third graders, and the writing portions have a time limit.

“Maybe they do know how to type,” Hensley said. “But I’ve got a 12-year-old, and I don’t think she can type very fast.”

Education officials have been piloting computer testing across the state. Last year, a practice writing assessment was given to some students by computer. Others used paper.

“There was very little difference in the scores of the students that did paper and pencil versus those who did it online,” said Tammy Shelton, executive director of content and resources.

Common Core standards do prescribe that students begin learning how to type correctly in elementary school. Shelton also says third and fourth graders won’t be expected to write much more than a paragraph in response to questions on the new test.