Welcome to Write with Us Wednesdays. Classrooms all over the world use Turnitin’s offerings to improve writing, prevent plagiarism, and support academic integrity. Every Wednesday, the blog posts are for the practitioners. Check back each week for product updates, creative use cases, and tales from the field.
Welcome back to school! “All things new” seems to be a resounding theme during this season: new year, new students, new school and district initiatives, and new tools. We are excited to report that the theme of newness also applies to Turnitin’s offerings!
The Curriculum Team (Remember them? You met them a few weeks ago) has been hard at work all summer expanding, rewriting, and improving Revision Assistant prompts, rubrics and feedback. The Signal Check, Spot Check, and Expansion Pack libraries have all grown, and exemplars for Spot Check have doubled since the last school year ended! To get a sense of the new prompts, check out the tables below.
When we look back on writing papers for school, at some point, we have all experienced the feeling that the work is non-transferable. How would that deep dive into The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock prepare us for life? The answer: picking apart a line of poetry—or engaging in any other form of academic writing—teaches us to think critically and translate those thoughts into words on paper. That’s a skill that undeniably serves us well beyond school.
Back-to-school is fast approaching, and we’re kicking things off with a new blog series: Write with Us Wednesdays. Classrooms all over the world use Turnitin’s offerings to improve writing, prevent plagiarism, and support academic integrity. Every Wednesday, the blog posts are for the practitioners. Check back each week for product updates, creative use cases, and tales from the field.
For our inaugural Write with Us Wednesdays post, we want to introduce you to the educators and practitioners that reside within Turnitin’s walls. Like most technology companies, we have Product and Engineering teams. Their core aim is to build high-quality tools that solve teachers’ problems, but they can’t do it alone. How do we ensure that the solutions we create can be easily and practically implemented by teachers? Meet the Curriculum Team.
At the start of summer, Scott Rosenkranz, English Curriculum Coordinator at Fullerton Joint Unified High School District and CEO of OnCore Education, Inc., was faced with a challenge: he had 15 days spread over four weeks to cover one semester’s worth of units for an English class.
Working with 36 students from grades 9-12 who did not pass their English classes during the school year, his goal for this targeted summertime intervention was simultaneously simple and staggering: growth for all students. For 33 of the students that completed the course, this goal was achieved. When measuring student progress against Scott’s rubrics, the students increased one level in writing proficiency.
We spoke to Rosenkranz about these impressive results, and he shared the trifecta of teaching strategies and tools that made this summer’s intervention one of the most effective he’s ever conducted. Here’s his recipe for summertime success.
School may be out for the summer, but here at Turnitin, the learning is hardly on vacation. We make a point to take advantage of this season of conferences because it affords us ample opportunities to interact with and learn from all of you. So far, ISTE and ERDI have already come and gone, but we’re still steeped in the positive energy from both events. Here’s a recap of the greatest learnings, surprises, and what’s coming next.
As regular readers of the blog know, student plagiarism is a challenging issue in education today. According to The School for Ethical Education’s (SEE) Academic Motivation and Integrity Survey1 (AMIS), almost 60% of US public high school students who responded to the survey self-report some form of plagiarism during a typical school year. As educators, we have three options to choose from as we consider how to respond to the problem we and our students face.
Summer is (finally) here, and everyone's favorite education conference is upon us. This year, Turnitin is shaking things up in San Antonio, Texas with some exciting new ways to share the latest and greatest in writing instruction. If you're passionate about writing and like to have a little fun while you're at it, then you won't want to miss three great ways to connect with Turnitin at ISTE.
Revision Assistant Recognized for Work on Testing and Writing Assessment
This year Turnitin had a rare and special honor of visiting the White House to be recognized for work on its formative writing technology, Revision Assistant. On December 7, 2016, Elijah Mayfield, VP of new technologies, Jill Hedrick, SVP of Sales, and Stephanie Butler, director of product management, traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with other education technology leaders. Read the press release.
SAT® Essay Writing Scoring for the Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy Now Powered by Turnitin
Nearly seven million students took either the SAT® or PSAT/NMSQT in the 2015-2016 school year. Of those test takers, 2.5 million prepared for the SAT exam using an innovative program that was launched by the College Board and Khan Academy in June of 2015.
Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy – developed through a partnership with the College Board and Khan Academy – supports and reinforces what students are learning in the classroom by helping them focus on the knowledge and skills essential for college readiness. All students can access, at anytime and anywhere, free, personalized practice for the SAT based on their performance on the PSAT/NMSQT or previous SAT results.
As part of the practice program, students also have the chance to take six full-length practice exams that include the optional essay–two of which are automatically scored using Turnitin Scoring Engine, right now. Never before have students been able to practice and prepare for the essay portion of the exam and get both immediate as well as consistent scores back.
Score consistency is important, because the accuracy of the score speaks to its relevance for helping students improve. Incorrect scoring can lead to improper preparation. Likewise, accurate scores can help guide students to better writing.
Turnitin Scoring Engine® is more than just a scoring program. Most essay scoring systems consider only text complexity (length of sentences and words) to assess student writing. Scoring Engine looks not just at complexity, but also at the substance of the writing, assessing students ability to read, analyze, and write. This is what the SAT essay portion is really intended to assess.
Looking ahead, students will be able to not only receive scores for their essays, they will also be able to engage in targeted practice with specific and actionable feedback. This formative feedback will be provided through Turnitin Revision Assistant®
, another Turnitin program that leverages the same technology that powers the essay scoring, but towards the goal of providing feedback and not just a score.
The key to writing success is practice and timely, actionable feedback. Revision Assistant was designed to specifically address this need. Evlyn, a student in New York, said: “It bettered my writing. When I see feedback, it helps me.”
Revision Assistant will also be integrated into the Official SAT Practice and give students a chance to get feedback that will support their essay writing preparation.
Providing both Turnitin Scoring Engine and Turnitin Revision Assistant within the Official SAT Practice program gives students the chance to improve their writing–the one factor on the SAT that has been highlighted as the “best indicator of academic success.”
With the College Board and Khan Academy, Turnitin recognizes and supports writing success, whether to prepare students for a test, for the classroom, or for their futures overall.
Turnitin Scoring Engine is available on a customized basis for writing assessment needs.
Turnitin Revision Assistant is available as a standalone program and also available as part of the College Board’s SpringBoard®, a comprehensive 6-12 math and English instructional program.
Understanding students’ writing strengths and weaknesses are important for teachers in targeting instruction. All students improve their skills and grow throughout the span of their education, so it’s important to keep tabs on where each student stands and, also tools that are out there to help.
In a recent webcast, former teachers Jill Crivelli and Kristin Van Gompel discussed the challenge of getting students to revise their writing and take ownership of their work.
As a middle school teacher, Jill taught six classes and held the role of curriculum leader for her district at Chartiers Valley School District in Pittsburgh, PA. Constantly in and out of the classroom, she was challenged with being aware of where her students were and tracking their growth along the way. Kristin taught K-8 students, and also trained in the areas of teacher professional development and adult learning. Both Jill and Kristin now work with Turnitin to support educators in using digital tools that support learning outcomes.
During the live webcast, the teachers shared their experiences with helping educators meet their specific educational and instructional goals. They asked hundreds of live attendees the following three questions on writing challenges that they face in the classroom:
- What are some challenges you face during instruction and/or assessment of writing?
- What do you feel is important for students in their improvement?
- What do you need to inform instruction of students as developing writers?
Many of the responses mentioned concerns around the importance of providing actionable feedback in a timely manner and getting students to practice and actually revise their writing. Coincidentally, feedback and motivating students to revise their work were the same concerns that Jill experienced in her classrooms, which led her to pilot Turnitin’s Revision Assistant tool.
As one of the first teachers to ever pilot Revision Assistant, Jill was able to help direct the program to focus on the needs of teachers and students. Like many other teachers, her goal was to have her students write more and be able to track their progress over time from draft to draft. As the program developed, she began using it to provide her students with instant, actionable feedback to support revision and guidance throughout the entire writing process.
One of the benefits of Revision Assistant that Jill immediately realized was the ability for students to relate to the program. The interface of Revision Assistant places students in an environment with visuals they are familiar with to encourage writing. Instead of having numbers tied to a rubric with a numeric score, students are shown the strength of their writing in the form of a Wi-Fi signal.
Students are also given the opportunity to receive actionable feedback whenever they are ready by requesting a Signal Check. Students normally need to wait for independent guidance on their work, but Revision Assistant provides instant, formative feedback to encourage revision. Feedback appears as comments in the margin and revolve around strengths and weaknesses found in the students writing.
Watch the full webcast with a Q&A session here: Teachers Talk Writing
Revision Assistant Prompt Library
Feedback that Extends Teachers’ Reach
Motivating Students to Revise More Leads to More Practice, Greater Success
- Global Innovation Awards 2016
- Comment Crafting through QuickMarks
- Is it Plagiarism or Not?
- What Does Global Ethics Day Mean to You?
- Werewolf? Walking Dead? Engaging Students in Writing with Halloween QuickMarks
- No Feedback Left Behind - Feedback Studio for iPad
- Test Article w/Intro Image
- Is Recycling Your Own Work Plagiarism?
- Teaching With Technology: Empowering Students to Take Control of Their Own Learning
- Promptastic: Discovery and Reflection in Student Writing