Writing skills of U.S. students not proficient enough, National Assessment of Educational Progress says

By on Sep 15, 2012 in Education, United States Comments

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the National Report Card released on Friday, September 14, 2012 the result of its first-ever computer-based national writing exam, and revealed that the writing skills of U.S. students are not proficient enough.

NAEP logo

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) logo
Image Credit: NAEP Facebook

According to a press release by NAEP on its official website that day, they took samples from 24,100 8th grade students and 28,100 12th grade students, where results were divided into three different levels: Basic, Proficient, and Advanced, wherein most of them did not reach the highest level.

As described in the report, the Basic level means having a partial mastery of the prerequisite skills and knowledge fundamental for proficient work; Proficient means solid academic performance; and Advanced represents superior performance, wherein more than 75 percent had a Basic score.

This means the remaining 25 percent (about a quarter) of the 8th and 12th graders who took the test were at or above the Proficient level, after NAEP presented them with a range of interactive tasks, including short video or audio segments, newspaper articles, data from real-world settings, and other materials.

“The pace of written communication in today‚Äôs environment reflects the transition to an information-based economy built on complexity and efficiency,” Governing Board Chairman David P. Driscoll was quoted in the report, noting that the data will help them understand the writing skills of U.S. students using technology.

“The Nation’s Report Card‘s new computer-based design captures students’ ability to respond clearly and accurately in real-world, on-demand situations and allows NAEP to collect information about how students use technology in developing and editing their writing.” Driscoll added.

“Writing is fundamental to effective communication, especially in an era in which email and other word-processed documents are the norm rather than the exception. We need to focus on supporting students beyond Basic levels so that they have a solid grasp of effective writing skills.” Driscoll explains further.

NAEP noted that the result of the National Report Card test next year will be compared to this recent test, but is not cannot be compared with previous NAEP writing assessments, which they have been conducting for almost four decades, because students who took those exams used the paper-and-pencil essay format.

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