SAN PABLO, Calif. – School districts across the U.S. are working to give their students command of a computer keyboard now that a majority of states are administering standardized tests online for the first time.
New exams linked to the Common Core state standards are replacing the multiple-choice tests taken with paper and pencils in 29 states this spring. Kids must be able to switch between screens, rearrange words and numbers, open drop-down menus and play audio files.
The tests are given starting in third grade, but children as young as 5 are spending time in school computer labs so their young hands become familiar with the point-and-click functions of a mouse.
Educators say hands-on instruction is necessary because the tests assume digital fluency that may be foreign to children in homes without computers.