Instructional Uses of Computers for Writing: The Effect of State Testing Programs
by Michael Russell & Lisa Abrams — 2004
Over the past two decades, the presence and use of technology in the workplace and in schools has increased dramatically. At the same time, the importance of test-based educational accountability has also increased. Currently, formal testing programs are used in 49 states. Some observers have raised concerns that the testing programs that make high-stakes decisions about students and/or schools have adverse impact on instructional practices. This study examines the extent to which teachers believe they are modifying instructional uses of computers for writing in response to state testing programs. Through a national survey of teachers, the study finds that a substantial percentage of teachers believe they are decreasing instructional uses of computers for writing as a result of paper-based state tests. This study also reports that computing skills of students in urban and poor performing schools are reported by teachers to be less developed than students in suburban schools. The combined effect is that those students who most need opportunities to develop skills in using computers for writing in school may not be acquiring those opportunities as a result of teachers' responses to paper-based state tests.
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