Students do worse on online writing test

Oregon middle school students earn lower writing scores when they take the test online instead on paper, AP reports, even though “the tests used the same prompts and were identical.”

Students said they had trouble proofreading on the screen; they’re used to printing out a draft to proofread it.  In addition, students are used to using programs that check their spelling and grammar.  “They’ve never used (a computer) that didn’t have that,” said Mark Molner, who teaches writing at Bend High. Students also said they slow down and write more thoughtfully on paper.

Molner thinks that while spell-check may make some students less inclined to proofread, it is a tool that is here to stay.

“It is going to exist on every computer they’re going to use,” he said. “People make the same argument about calculators and computation errors.

Instant messaging and texting are eroding basic skills, complains Bend High writing teacher Nikki Baird. She’s forced to reteach capitalization and punctuation skills that should have been learned in elementary school. In class, her students write with paper and pencil, just like in the old days.