Saugus Union Unified School District Raises 4th-Grade California STAR Writing Scores With Vantage Learning’s MY Access! Online Writing Tool


Katie Nicolai
Gregory FCA
27 West Athens Ave.
Ardmore, Pa. 19003
John Zoccola
Public Relations Manager
Vantage Learning
110 Terry Drive Suite 100
Newtown, Pa. 18940
Saugus Union Unified School District Raises 4th-Grade California STAR Writing Scores With Vantage Learning’s MY Access! Online Writing Tool
Tests scores soar from 55 percent proficient to 79 percent proficient in just four months, thanks to classrooms using the award-winning, Web-based language arts program MY Access!
Ewing, NJ.—October 19, 2009—Teachers and fourth-grade students in the Saugus Union School District are celebrating a dramatic increase in test scores on the California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) writing assessment, thanks to the district’s recent implementation of online writing tool MY Access!®. This award-winning, Web-based program from Vantage Learning improves student writing by instantly scoring class essays, and provides immediate remedial instruction that engages and motivates students. Saugus’s fourth-graders’ scores sky rocketedfrom 55 percent scoring proficient or above in the 2007/2008 school year, to 79 percent in 2008/2009, after only four months of using MY Access! in the classroom.
            “MY Access! is a perfect compliment to what we consider an elite suite of technology tools in our classrooms. The immediate feedback and detailed targeted instruction that MY Access! provides is invaluable,” says Arlene Anderson, Educational Technology Curriculum Specialist. “It enabled teachers to devote more personal attention to the kids, and helped everyone focus their efforts on truly mastering our English curriculum. For the fact that the students were only really using the program for 4 1/2 months, it’s really amazing. 
            To use MY Access!, students write an essay based on a teacher’s assignment, and submit it to the Web-based system. The program instantly analyzes over 350 semantic, syntactic, and discourse characteristics, and scores the students on focus and meaning, organization, content and development, language use and style, mechanics and conventions, and overall writing proficiency. MY Access! then scores the essays on a scale of 1 to 6, which provides immediate feedback to students, and saves teachers valuable time to focus on personalized, targeted student instruction instead.
            Saugus, an award-winning technology rich district, with a 1:1 student to laptop ration, implemented MY Access! to 1,600 fourth graders in 2008 as part of its Student Writing Achievement Through Technology Enhanced Collaboration (SWATTEC), with funds generated through Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) grant funds.
            MY Access! also supports multiple languages to boost the writing scores of the district’s English language learners (ELL). The program’s multilingual tutoring and editing feedback helps the district’s ELL teachers adapt the program based on students’ English proficiency. In addition, its unique translation feature let ELL students write in English, but receive feedback and corrections in their native language.
            Another key component in Saugus’s continuing success is its commitment to on-going professional development for teachers. Teachers participated in Vantage Learning’s Essentials of Effective Writing Instruction and Assessment training series, which focuses on integrating MY Access! into all stages of writing process instruction.  In addition Saugus teachers received in-class, customized coaching and mentoring sessions and constant support from a Vantage Learning Implementation Specialist. 
            “Saugus Union School District has proven it puts the interests of its students at the forefront, and is committed to building their writing skills and confidence. We are extremely proud of the work they have done in such a short period of time.” says Harry Barfoot, Vice President of Vantage Learning. “MY Access! provides the perfect complement to the teachers’ and students’ dedication by offering the depth, flexibility, and innovation needed to take these kids to the next level. We are proud to support the district as they help instill a love and passion for the English language in every student.”
            Anderson continued, “Vantage Learning and the MY Access! team have supported us every step of the way.  Their services have been exceptional with the “just-in-time” response and support our teachers have requested. Now we are ready for a full year of implementation and even better results.”
A pioneer providing Software as a Service (SaaS), Vantage Learning is recognized as the leader in cost-effective online assessment and instructional programs for K-12 and higher education. Leveraging technology such as artificial intelligence, natural language understanding, and Web-based learning objects, Vantage provides educators with high-quality tools and resources that motivate students to learn and that create meaningful interaction between students, parents and teachers.

Acknowledged by industry leaders as the gold standard for scoring quality, consistency, reliability, and scalability of automated essay scoring using the patented IntelliMetric® engine, Vantage Learning has received accolades ranging from the prestigious CODIE Award for best instructional technology to recognition by Eduventures as one of the eight most innovative educational technology companies.


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