There is now scientific evidence that good keyboarding skills are essential to optimal performance in NAPLAN. Thousands of educators right across Australia recognise this critical link and are actively preparing their students for NAPLAN with Typing Tournament.
Research shows that Year 5 students who have learned to type with Typing Tournament have a clear advantage and a pathway to improved NAPLAN scores for the whole class. On average, the result for children in the class will be boosted by 7 marks. That is 37% of a year’s progress in the Writing Task.
While many voices have long made the case to raise the status of keyboard skills in school education, recent developments may be about to fundamentally change the landscape.
Firstly, the Australian Primary Principals Association in its NAPLAN Online Trial Survey indicated that in preparation for NAPLAN Online 78.61% of principals want to increase teaching time allocated to keyboarding skills.
Secondly, the Australian Writing Survey (see p7) found that many school teachers do not feel equipped to teach keyboard skills, underlining the critical role of software resources to support them with this responsibility.
Finally, the NAPLAN Review Final Report 2020 (see p84) suggests that:
At EdAlive, we are regularly approached by schools wanting to increase students’ keyboarding ability to support the achievement of their students in NAPLAN. The following remarks are typical of such schools.
“With NAPLAN going online and the growing use of computers, touch typing absolutely has to be a 21st-century skill.’’ Ann Mathers – Mentone Girls’ Grammar School, Melbourne.
The imperative for typing skills is now reflected in a wide range of curricula, educational practice and the use of online testing.
Even though most teachers historically have not prioritised typing, the Australian Curriculum and the various state-based curricula now have statements regarding the teaching of efficient keyboarding.
The complex high level kinaesthetic skill of handwriting is universally taught via a structured leaning programme spanning many years of schooling. Typically, it will feature increasing complexity and repetition commencing with a simplified script and progressing through intermediary stages to fully formed cursive writing.
So too, good keyboarding skills need to be systematically taught. Left to their own devices children usually develop poor, inefficient habits that stymie their productivity for the rest of their education and on into their working lives.
High typing speeds are not necessarily the dominant aim in primary school. Handwriting in primary children is estimated to average 10-13 words per minute (WPM), with few achieving 20 WPM. So, a typing speed of 18-20 WPM would translate to matching or exceeding handwriting speed in most practical circumstances. Research has shown that weekly use of Typing Tournament increases average typing speeds by 6 WPM over a school term, meaning that speeds of 18-20 WPM are a realistic target for middle primary students with many classes regularly achieving typing speeds of over 45 WPM.