WriteToLearn 3.0 Serves Up Writing, Reading Evaluation

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Boulder, CO-based Pearson Knowledge Technologies has unveiled WriteToLearn 3.0, the latest update to its writing development and reading comprehension tool, which now gives students expanded feedback on their essays and helps teachers target students with reading passages geared for their individual abilities.

The system automatically measures student essay writing using Pearson's Knowledge Analysis Technologies engine, which aims to simulate a skilled human grader by evaluating the meaning of text by examining whole passages, not just checking grammar and spelling. It then scores students based on six traits of writing: ideas, organization, conventions, sentence fluency, word choice, and voice. WriteToLearn also shows students how they can improve on theirs scores for each of those six elements.

To judge reading comprehension, WriteToLearn uses the Durham, NC-based MetaMetrics's Lexile framework for measuring reader ability against text difficulty to measure student summarization skills for its more than 100 reading passages.

The system's exercises and feedback create an enjoyable learning environment for the students of East Palo Alto Tennis and Tutoring, a Palo Alto (EPATT), California-based nonprofit after school program from Stanford University that combines tutoring with tennis lessons, said the program's academic director, Kesha Weekes.

Many of EPATT's students are learning English as a second language and are struggling writers. Weekes said the students enjoy the system so much that they have stopped playing educational games in favor of working on their WriteToLearn assignments: “They’re kids," she explained, "and they don’t want to do anything that’s not fun, and it’s fun.”

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About the author: David Kopf is a freelance technology writer and editor and can be reached at david@prooferati.com.

Have any additional questions? Want to share your story? Want to pass along a news tip? Contact Dave Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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