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University Develops Tool To Help with K-12 Writing Assessments

The University of Kansas has created an online system that helps students learn the writing process and lets teachers evaluate, score, and offer feedback.

The Kansas Writing Instruction and Evaluation Tool (KWIET), which was developed by the Center for Education Testing and Evaluation, can be used to deliver the Kansas Writing Assessment. The center partners with the Kansas State Department of Education to deliver assessment services under the Kansas Assessment Program. It also provides online training resources, practice tests, and tutorials to help prepare students and teachers for the Kansas assessments.

KWIET also can be utilized by students and teachers in other subject areas, such as mathematics, reading, science and social studies.

Features of KWIET include:

  • A Web-based system for pre-writing, drafting, collaborating, revising, and publishing;
  • Tracking each student across grade levels, buildings, and districts within the state of Kansas;
  • The ability for teachers to create and modify tasks, prompts, and scoring rubrics;
  • Text editor tools, such as spell check, which can be enabled or turned off;
  • The capability for peer response; and
  • Scoring and reporting capabilities using rubrics from the Kansas Writing Assessment.

Teachers can use KWIET to supplement other materials. They have the ability to customize and edit their own writing prompts and grading rubrics, or they can use ones based on the six-trait model: ideas and content, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency and conventions. Instructors also can print student writing with teacher comments to share with students and parents.

KWIET is free and available to students and teachers beginning this semester. The assessment is required for the 2012-2013 school year in grades 5, 8, and 11.

For more information about KWIET, visit the center's Web site.

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Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @editortim.