Implementation of Common Core education standards has hit another snag as some parents worry that their young children don’t have the necessary typing skills to complete the online tests required under the standards.
The new national education guidelines — approved by the National Governors Association, President Barack Obama’s Department of Education and most states — require students across the country to take the same online exam: the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test. Kids as young as nine years old must be able to type a full page on the writing portion of the exam. Fifth-graders are required to type two pages.
That’s quite a challenge for many young children, particularly those from low-income families who haven’t interacted with computers as frequently as their peers.
“I’ve heard professional development leaders say most kids have been on iPads since they were two,” said Katie Patterson, director of Common Core strategy at New Schools for New Orleans, in a statement to The Hechinger Report. “That’s not a true statement for kids in poverty.”
Patterson is particularly concerned about students in New Orleans, 42 percent of whom live in poverty. Their old exams did not require typing skills. (RELATED: Now they’re arresting people who complain about the Common Core)
Making arduous typing demands of poor, young children is just one of Common Core’s many problems, an education expert told The Daily Caller.
“Eight-year-olds are not typically good typists, or able to be good typists, and this may make their test score a referendum on their computer skills rather than their academic knowledge,” wrote Joy Pullmann, a research fellow at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of School Reform News, in an email. “It seems Common Core has combined its developmentally inappropriate standards for small children with developmentally inappropriate tests.” (RELATED: Here’s what kids will read under Common Core)
While Republican governors, the federal government and teachers union leaders all support Common Core, conservative lawmakers and rank-and-file teachers have expressed numerous criticisms with the standards and the standardized tests that accompany them. Many fear that Common Core’s methods are unproven, and will pre-empt states’ rights on education policy.
Doing away with handwriting is another of Common Core’s sins, said Pullmann.
“Delayed and special-needs children particularly benefit from learning handwriting,” she wrote. “Handwriting also allows small children to produce something beautiful, which is often difficult and frustrating at age seven or eight.”
Tania Nyman, a Baton Rouge parent, said she found it difficult to justify spending time with her son building typing skills instead of focusing on reading or math.
“If my son wants to learn to type of his own volition, I would say, ‘Sure, go ahead honey,’” said Nyman in a statement to The Hechinger Report. “But if it’s only because online tests make it easier for companies to grade, I would ask, ‘Is it really a practical skill that third-graders need?’”