Grantee Spotlight: Office of Community Engagement

Submitted by the Office of Community Engagement, one of CPCF’s first grant recipients. In 2013, CPCF awarded a grant to OCE to fund a typing class at Paint Branch Elementary School to prepare students for upcoming changes to standardized testing. 

In 2013, the Office of Community Engagement was awarded a grant to fund a keyboarding class for the university’s local partner, Paint Branch Elementary School (PBES). The grant funded supplies/equipment and the services of a highly-qualified course instructor.

In 2012, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) required fifth grade students enrolled in state public schools to complete the Maryland State Assessment (MSA) in Science electronically. This mandate generated concern among instructors. Beginning in October 2014, a computer course met twice weekly for 45-minute sessions. By the end of the program, OCE found that the speed scores (words typed per minute) increased by 42% and accuracy (an error rate measured as a percent) improved by 14%.

In the long-term, students who participated in the pilot program should show improved performance on computer-administered standardized tests relative to cohorts of PBES students who have not received the intervention. As a result of this grant and computer course, PBES will be better equipped to craft interventions to meet the challenges that computerized testing will pose in coming years.