Learning Apps & Tools

Student Writing Program WriQ Speeds Grading-Feedback Cycle

Education technology company Texthelp has released a new online program to help students improve their writing. WriQ automates and standardizes the assessment of student writing against national norms, evaluating each student's writing across multiple criteria. The idea is to help teachers assess writing proficiency more efficiently and give students more personalized feedback.

WriQ provides "positive nudge" notifications and digital achievement badges each time students write more. A student dashboard displays real-time feedback, allowing them to choose to refine their writing without waiting for teacher guidance.

The algorithm that powers the software, named WriQ Score, was developed using data from more than 85,000 teacher-graded documents.

The program was released in beta form in 2019. Now it's available as a free extension through Google Docs or as an add-in for Microsoft Word to teachers and students. A paid version offers additional features, such as a full assessment dashboard and comparisons of writing against national norms.

Student Writing Program WriQ Speeds Grading-Feedback Cycle

According to the company, WriQ can be used across grade levels, from fourth grade through graduate programs, and across core subjects. The paid version of the program for a "defined group" is $10 per student in K-12; a district-wide license is currently $1 per student.

One beta tester said the program cut down the editing and correction time for teachers. According to Sally Garza, teacher and technology director at Ohio's Lawrence School, said the use of the software "leaves me more time for differentiation and 1-to-1 instruction, and I have real data to share with students and parents. Having the data is more persuasive than just a subjective opinion from the teacher.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has called attention to a number of new and long-standing challenges around student motivation and learning loss, as well as the demanding workloads facing our teachers each and every day," said Martin McKay, Texthelp's founder and CEO, in a press release. "WriQ, has been designed with those needs in mind. Not only does it standardize writing assessment in order to give teachers more time to focus on student instruction and support, but it is also designed to motivate and engage students in writing."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.