Although it may seem archaic and rudimentary to talk about typing assessments, I have found this method of assessments as fundamental in building a foundation for digital literacy. Until touch screen keyboards become commonplace, incorporating an authentic way of assessing typing skills continues to be a crucial component in any computer curriculum. There is no better way to start developing a model for growth in typing skills than in K-6 curriculum. I compare it to the importance of cursive writing standards in the third grade. As obsolete as it has become with the advent of keyboards, my days learning cursive writing was the foundation to my work. One can argue that simply incorporating project-based learning using technology will naturally make one better on the keyboard, however, a consistent structured keyboarding program in a K-6 curriculum will serve beneficial in the long run. Below is my method of assessing keyboarding skills using a free web program called PowerTyping.
Benchmark 1: Students will learn to type lessons 1-13 on PowerTyping by focusing on accuracy. Students will be measured on how many errors are made rather than how quickly one types. This alleviates the pressure for time and allows the students to get comfortable with the keyboard. Great for the beginning learner who has never used a keyboard. In order for a student to pass each lesson, they must get 0 errors when completing the whole lesson.
Benchmark 2: Students will begin learning to type with accuracy and speed. I have found the 20wpm benchmark to be a good standard for students beginning to type with speed. It is a speed that is attainable without making it too simple. Students must type 20wpm with 0 errors to pass each level until lesson 1-13 are complete (1-3 lines worth). Teachers can use either the review or the actual lesson for each level. I also include a stipulation for students who type quickly with many errors. I tell my students that every error will get subtracted from their wpm score.
Benchmark 3: Students will learn to type consistently with accuracy and speed. This last benchmark is reserved for students comfortable on the keyboard and ready to tackle higher standards of typing. This benchmark requires students to reach 30 wpm 0 error scores over the length of the entire lesson. It requires consistent typing capabilities and tests students determination to concentrate over a longer period of time.
Notes: Teachers can keep a growth chart via spreadsheet for every benchmark. I compare it to keeping multiplication growth charts for students learning their times tables.