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Preparing Kids for Computer-Based Testing

Preparing kids for computer based testing
Skills Needed for Computer-Based Testing

How can teachers best prepare students for new generation, computer-based assessments like SBAC and PARCC? Use engaging, free web tools to ready your kids for novel test items. Allow kids to practice working with drag and drop items, highlighting text, and typing proficiently. Below are the skills and free web tools to help kids gain confidence needed for computer-based testing.

Typing Practice

Introduction to Keyboarding (K – 2) – Students in grades K – 2 begin by learning which hand to use to strike letters on a keyboard. Support letter recognition and the use of two hands for typing with sites like these. Tip: Support students by providing two different colored wrist bands to help kids keep track of which hand to use.

  • Monkeypaws KeySeeker (K – 2):  Practices letter recognition and begins to familiarize kids with where those letters are located on the keyboard.
  • ABCYa Keyboard Zoo (K-2): Practices letter names or sounds while exposing students to letter location and which hand to use to strike each key.

Beginner Keyboarding Practice (Gr 3 – 4) – Students in grades 3 & 4 begin to use the correct hand position (home row) and practice using the correct fingers to select keys.

  • Typing Club (K-8): A complete keyboarding skills curriculum. Typing Club gradually introduces letters while monitoring accuracy and speed. An on-screen keyboard appears on the bottom half of the screen to show students the correct hand position and which finger should be used to strike the keys. Progress is tracked if students sign in to their free account. Students login in with their school Google or Office 365 account.  Tip: Install an ad blocking extension like, Adblock Plus, to hide distracting advertisements.
  • Math Quiz (Gr 3-6) Practice typing numbers while improving fact fluency. Three difficulty levels available.

Mouse/Touchpad SkillsABCYa Base 10 Game

Basic Mouse/Touchpad Skills (K – 2) – Practice clicking, dragging and dropping using a mouse or touchpad.

  • Base Ten Fun (K-2): Using base ten blocks from toolbox, students drag to work space to make the number shown on the screen.
  • Click the Bubble (K-1): Practice moving the cursor with the mouse or touch pad to pop the bubbles.
  • Code.org/learn (K-8): Engage students with block-based coding games to develop computational thinking while practicing drag and drop skills. Use the left sidebar to filter by age and device availability.

Build Your Own Interactive Assignments

EdCite Assessment BuilderCreate assignments using technology-enhanced question types that students will see on SBAC or PARCC assessments. Choose from a library or create your own. Monitor student data and push assignments out. These platforms offer a free teacher-level account as well as premium options for schools or districts.

  • EdCite (K-12): Create interactive assignments from scratch. Copy and edit existing items in your assignments. Search by topic, grade level or standard. Technology-enhanced question items such as drag and drop, fill in the blank with math keypad, and highlighting are supported. Click HERE for tutorial videos.
  • Edulastic (K-12): Google Classroom rosters can be synced to quickly create classes and assign PARCC or SBAC-like questions from a question bank. Create your own, from-scratch assignments using a flexible interface that supports a wide-range of technology-enhanced question types. Click HERE for tutorial videos


Making Test Preparation Purposeful

While many praise the new “21st century assessments”, teachers are left wondering how to best prepare their students so that the assessment is a measure of what kids know, not how skilled they are at using devices. This post is not intended to support or criticize these next-generation assessments, but rather to provide teachers with websites and activities that support students’ development of typing, touchpad and mouse skills. There are many other options for helping students to practice needed technology skills to help them to be successful when facing computer-based assessments. Please share some of your favorites in the comments below!

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