Students in grades 4 to 7 will take Florida’s new standardized writing test using old-fashioned paper and pencil to quell educators’ fears that younger students don’t have the typing skills needed to take an online writing exam.
Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said Tuesday the state will revisit the issue next year, before deciding whether the 2016 version of the Florida Standards Assessments will require all students to write using a keyboard.
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The new FSA — a series of language arts and math exams — will be given for the first time this spring. It replaces most of FCAT, including FCAT writing, which was always a paper-and-pencil test. The FSA is meant to be given mostly online.
The new series of exams are aligned to Common Core academic standards, benchmarks for what students should learn in language arts and math classes.
The standards, Stewart noted, say that by third grade students should be able to type their writing.
But because the standards are new, the state will not test younger students’ writing online, understanding that some fear that would end up judging their keyboarding skills not their ability to craft sentences and paragraphs.