Troutman Middle School students are building the writing skills necessary for success in our globally competitive society by learning with WriteToLearn™, an award-winning Web-based writing and reading comprehension tool from the education, technology and services company, Pearson. For more than a year, WriteToLearn has been an integral part of reading and writing instruction across the curriculum at this middle school in the heart of North Carolina’s Piedmont region, and students are seeing remarkable results.
With WriteToLearn, students practice essay writing and summarization skills, and their efforts are measured by Pearson’s state-of-the-art Knowledge Analysis Technologies™ (KAT) engine. The KAT Engine is a unique automated assessment technology that evaluates the meaning of text, not just grammatical correctness or spelling. WriteToLearn provides feedback on six traits of writing – ideas, organization, conventions, sentence fluency, word choice and voice – and allows students and teachers to focus on each of these important dimensions of writing.
Last month, Troutman Principal Jeff James and a team of teachers from the school traveled to Raleigh to share their success with State Superintendent of Education June Atkinson and members of the North Carolina State Board of Education’s Globally Competitive Students Committee.
James said, “At the start of the 2008-2009 school year, we recognized that we weren’t seeing the kind of growth we wanted in student writing scores and believed that we needed an approach to teaching writing that would engage students in the learning process and build literacy skills across the curriculum. We began a pilot of WriteToLearn and saw tremendous growth in the test scores of the students who were learning using this innovative tool, versus the students who were being taught writing in the traditional methods we have used in the past. Our special-education students, in particular, saw real growth when learning with WriteToLearn.”
Debbie Craven-Smith, a special education teacher at Troutman, and her colleague Perry Justice, who co-teaches an inclusion class with her, traveled with James to the state capitol.
“We have seen dramatic changes in the amount of time that students devote to their schoolwork when they are using WriteToLearn,” said Craven. “They ask if they can do additional work on their own, on their home computer. When they are learning a complex subject and need more time to explore it, they spend extra time outside of class. It is thrilling to see students take responsibility for work on projects and strive independently to complete a higher quality product.”
Based on the success of WriteToLearn at Troutman, its school district, Iredell-Statesville Schools, recently decided to implement WriteToLearn in all seven of its middle schools and to launch a pilot of the tool at Statesville High School.
“Mr. James and his team of dedicated teachers at Troutman Middle School have made an important commitment to improving achievement for all of their students and to using the power of technology to achieve that goal,” said Julia McCombs, Pearson’s digital representative for North Carolina. “Their use of WriteToLearn exemplifies the ways that our tool can engage students in learning and help them build literacy skills across the curriculum.”
More information about WriteToLearn is available at www.WriteToLearn.net.
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, reaches and engages today’s digital natives with effective and personalized learning, as well as dedicated professional development for their teachers. This commitment is demonstrated in the company’s investment in innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. Pearson’s commitment to education for all is supported by the global philanthropic initiatives of the Pearson Foundation. Pearson’s other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information, go to www.pearson.com.
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