Cartersville High to implement 'smart' writing software
by Mark Andrews
Mar 01, 2013 | 2757 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cartersville High School teacher Linda Templeton introduces the WriteToLearn software to students Jody Andrade and Diana Perdomo in her British Literature class in one of the school’s computer labs. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Cartersville High School teacher Linda Templeton introduces the WriteToLearn software to students Jody Andrade and Diana Perdomo in her British Literature class in one of the school’s computer labs. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Through its five-year, $2.4 million Striving Reader Comprehensive Literacy Grant, Cartersville High School plans to purchase and implement new software in the fall to assess, and assist, individual student writing needs.

“It’s not just English and social studies — Common Core [Standards] requires every single subject to [have students] write,” said freshman literature instructor Jennifer Cupp. “We have science teachers who are making them write, they’re writing essays and response questions in math class — every single class is writing.”

According to its website, www.writetolearn.net, “By employing automated assessment and instruction features, WriteToLearn helps improve student reading and writing skills while saving teachers time. WriteToLearn is a flexible online tool that includes summary writing and essay writing activities. The frequent, consistent practice and research-based system helps build both reading and writing skills.”

Cupp said the software will allow teachers, for example, to input the rubric for the Common Core and will allow teachers to scan in a student’s work, resulting in the software determining whether the student met the standard. She said the evaluation of the students’ work will not be in the form of a letter grade, but in the form of a meet, did not meet or needs improvement notification.

Students and their teachers also will be notified by the software if the student mastered the assignment and/or the areas in which the student needs to improve.

Gayla Elliott, an English as a Second Language and Spanish teacher, said she is excited to see how the software will allow students to better hone their reading and writing skills.

“Looking at the big picture as a whole, I think that why this will be so beneficial to Cartersville High School is because it leads us in the direction of individualized learning and instruction,” Elliott said. “We have kids who come to us on so many levels — we have our very high and strong academic students and then we have students who have deficits in some areas.”

Elliott said the software will aid her in determining what she needs to do to assist 32 students at a time with their individual learning needs.

“... For my ESOL students who already deal with the language barrier, of course writing is just an extra hurdle for them, and so I think what [the software] will do for them is give them that individualized feedback that they need, and it will show them exactly where they need the most improvement, and they won’t be able to go on until they improve or meet the standard in that area.”

Cupp said her approximately 168 ninth-grade students are required to write four essays in the first nine weeks of school.

“We’ve been buried under essays and we thought, ‘What an amazing tool that would enable us to give some specified feedback or we can upload or own rubric we’ve generated,’” Cupp said. “It’s sort of like another set of eyes on an essay.”

Teachers viewed a tutorial of the software at a recent vendor fair held at the school.

For more information on the software, visit www.writetolearn.net.