Essay-scoring software helps students learn basic writing skills, says the Santa Cruz Sentinel. In addition to feedback on spelling and grammar errors, the program points out “passive verbs, sentence fragments and overly repetitive words.” By comparing essays with human-scored essays on the same topic, the software can generate a grade and an analysis of writing errors in less than a minute.
In one high school, 79 percent of sophomores who used the program passed the English portion of the graduation exam, compared to 51 percent of classmates. Students with poor English fluency, who used the software to practice writing at home, posted an 82 percent pass rate.
“A dome of silence descends on the classroom,” (teacher C.J.) Foss said. “All you hear is the clicking of the keys. They’re playing the game of writing. They click ‘submit,’ they get their score, and they play again. They’re in a zone.”
Pat Thornton, 56, who teaches at Lakeside Middle School in Irving, appreciates being able to give her 182 students more feedback.
She assigns an essay a week for practice. During the course of a year, her students produce 10 in-depth essays for her to grade.
“The more students write, the more feedback they get, the more they improve,” she said.
On the state writing test, where 8 is the top score, 85 percent of the seventh-graders scored 5 or higher.
The key seems to be that students do a lot more writing when the teacher doesn’t have to take time to grade every essay.
One essay-grading software costs $6.50 per student per year. Another, with more features, costs $36 per student per year.
Via Education News.