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Typing.com Helps the Jessieville Lions Achieve High Test Scores

by Judy Speers

Typing is the Foundation for 21st Century Communication  

As more teaching and learning happens online, students must be skilled and efficient typists in order to complete their coursework and advance to the next grade level. Today, in addition to physically writing answers, typing is another form for students to communicate their understanding of specific concepts across any discipline. And similar to writing, the earlier a student is exposed to the proper techniques, which includes keystrokes, finger placement, and speed, the better equipped they are to succeed in a variety of learning settings, both in their studies and beyond.

Welcome to Jessieville Elementary School

I got started with Typing.com four years ago when I took a position at Jessieville Elementary School as the Computer Lab Teacher in Jessieville, Arkansas. Over the past few years, I have worked with other leaders on my campus to build a computer lab program that challenges students to improve their typing skills over time. We start with students as young as third grade to begin developing the right keystroke techniques and continue to build upon complexity and speed up until the fifth grade.

Throughout the school year, I meet with the students once a week for 45 minutes in the computer lab. Using Typing.com, students are able to access the same account throughout their time in the school, which allows growth monitoring over a multiple year period and saves time for account set-up and login. At the beginning of the year, I set up an account for new students and all students begin working through a series of lessons together. At this time, every student will work through each lesson three times, focusing on increasing speed and accuracy. As the year progresses, students are able to work rather independently throughout the program as each lesson adapts to students’ individual strengths and weaknesses.  

While they work, I am able to monitor their progress using the reporting features to track time spent on the program, advances made, and pinpoint areas of weaknesses. With more learning happening online, students also work within their Typing.com account in their homeroom class. In fact, teachers require five minutes a day for students with an average of 40+ words per minute (WPM) and 10 minutes a day for anything under this speed.

Higher WPM Translates to Higher Test Scores

Over the past few years, the state’s standardized test has transitioned to online formats, where students are expected to type their responses within a timed session. For example, fifth grade students must answer a written prompt, which can be upwards of about 400 words, in a 30-minute timeframe. Working with school leaders, I identified an achievement gap between students who meet our typing standards and those who had not: about 80 percent of students who had upper-level scores on the testing were kids who could type 40 WPM.  

Over the past few years, I’ve worked to set typing goals that are age-appropriate and foster continued growth for my students. The goals include:

  • Third graders: With an introduction to typing, we start learning the home row and have an end-of-year goal of 20 WPM.
  • Fourth graders: By the end of the year, many of these students progress up to at least 30 WPM and are proficient in typing common English words.
  • Fifth graders: With the timed end-of-year online exam, our goal is to have these students typing at 40 WPM, constructing full sentences and using proper punctuation. Last year, our top fifth grade student reached up to up to 113 WPM, setting a school record!

At Jessieville Elementary, we believe that Learning Increases Opportunities Necessary for Success - go LIONS! With this guiding motto, I work to equip our students with the ability to efficiently type, a skill set that will serve our students in the classroom and beyond.

This story was originally published on the Typing.com blog.

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