Revision Assistant doesn’t just focus on what needs improvement. It also recognizes the strengths within students’ writing. Every time students request a signal check, Revision Assistant relays two pieces of constructive, correctable feedback, along with two “Kudos” that describe what they did well and encourage them to apply similar effort to another section of the paper.

For example, one sample paper gave the following pieces of feedback:

Rework this sentence to link your example directly to your claim. Show how it proves your point.

Nice work! What about the evidence here is stronger than in other parts of your essay? Be sure to keep developing your ideas.

You are doing a better job of supporting your claim with good reasons. Make sure your audience can relate to your reasoning.

Be sure to end strong with clear and specific language that keeps your audience on your side. (This came at the end of the essay.)

College and Career-Ready

Students appreciate having immediate feedback on their writing, Kelly said—and they like seeing praise as well as suggestions for improvement. Her students use Revision Assistant to practice writing during class, and she walks around the room and helps students one-on-one as necessary.

“The volume that students need to write and the amount of practice they need to improve is much higher than I can handle on my own,” she said. “With Revision Assistant, I can give them more opportunities to practice in each of the various modes of writing, such as narrative essays or argumentative essays. It makes their learning more permanent. I can also give them more differentiated support, with extra practice or intervention as needed.”

Frequent writing is a core component of the IB curriculum, which culminates in a 4,000-word extended essay. But even students who aren’t planning to go on to college must learn how to write well across the curriculum, because written communication skills are essential for 21st century citizenship and careers.

“We want 100 percent of our students to be college or career ready,” said Assistant Principal Casey Ogden. “We have a diverse student population. Not all are university bound. But they all need to write well.” With Revision Assistant, “we are helping them get on a track to success.”

About the Author:

Dennis Pierce is a freelance writer with 20 years of experience covering education and technology. Follow him on Twitter: @denniswpierce.