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Gyöngyvér Molnár and Attila Pásztor: The Feasibility of Computer-based Measurements Among Lower Primary School Students: The Developmental Level of Year 1 Students’ Keyboarding and Mouse Skills

Despite the increasing and widespread use of technology-based testing even for large-scale assessments, only a few studies have focused on testing very young learners in a computer-based environment (Carson, Gillon, & Boustead, 2011). Administering computer-based tests to young children at the initial stage of formal schooling may raise numerous questions, e.g. regarding pupils’ basic computer skills, such as keyboarding and mouse skills, with regard to the feasibility of the assessment and validity of results (Csapó, Molnár, & Nagy, 2014). This study explores the potential of using online tests in regular educational practice for the assessment of pupils at the beginning of schooling. It investigates the nature of keyboarding and mouse skills and their relevance in educational settings by testing a measurement model composed of three processes: clicking, drag and drop, and typing. It describes the developmental level of keyboarding and mouse skills among Year 1 students, and it defines those operations which are applicable or to be avoided in a test prepared for measuring pupils’ knowledge and skills. The sample for the study was drawn from Year 1 students in Hungarian primary schools (n=6962). The instrument consisted of 44 figural items (=.89). Instructions were given online by a pre-recorded voice. Children had to indicate their answer by using the mouse or keyboard. Testing took place in the computer labs at the participating schools. Results showed that keyboarding and mouse skills were best modelled as a 3-dimensional construct with the three processes of clicking, drag and drop, and typing. Operations based exclusively on single mouse clicks proved to be the easiest to perform. This was followed by items consisting only of typing 1 to 5 numbers or letters. Finally, drag-and-drop operations, especially operations with several small elements, proved to be the hardest, but still possible for most of the pupils. The size and amount of the objects they had to click on or drag and drop influenced the success and difficulty of the particular operation significantly. Every procedure was easier to perform without a time limit. The hypothesized effective enhancement of the basic computer skills is supported by the result that, independent of the required procedure, tasks requiring operations similar to items somewhere previously in the test were significantly easier than items consisting of the same operation appearing for the first time on the test.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 115. Number 3. 239-254. (2015)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Molnár Gyöngyvér, SZTE Neveléstudományi Intézet, Oktatáselméleti Kutatócsoport, H–6722 Petőfi Sándor sgt. 30–34. Pásztor Attila, MTA-SZTE Képességfejlődés Kutatócsoport, H–6722 Petőfi Sándor sgt. 30–34.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia