MONTEREY, Calif., Sept. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- CTB/McGraw-Hill, one of the country's leading educational assessment partners, today announced the launch of Writing Roadmap™ 3.0, a robust expansion of its revolutionary online writing assessment tool that provides an effective way for students in Grades 3-12 to practice and improve their writing skills and for teachers to measure and track proficiency. The newly released Writing Roadmap 3.0 contains more than twice as many essay questions as the previous version as well as a new user interface, an improved scoring engine, and the introduction of text-based writing prompts with associated reading passages.
Writing Roadmap 3.0 uses natural language processing and artificial intelligence to automate the essay scoring process, allowing teachers to include dramatically more student writing activities in their classrooms while saving up to 100 hours or more of grading time per year. By reducing the amount of time that teachers spend administering and grading written exams, Writing Roadmap allows teachers to focus on what matters most–teaching.
"Writing is one of the most important skills taught today, but because of the class time and teacher resources needed to develop, administer, and score essays, it's also one of the most challenging to teach," said Ellen Haley, president of CTB/McGraw-Hill. "By managing administrative tasks, scoring essays, and providing feedback to students, Writing Roadmap 3.0 has made it easier for teachers to provide instruction and facilitate guided practice to help students develop their skills in this crucial subject."
The ability to efficiently and accurately evaluate students' writing skills has become increasingly important to schools since the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, which align K-12 instruction across the country with the goal of better preparing students for success in college and their careers. The new standards, which have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, place a heavy focus on promoting strong writing skills. Students and teachers can expect that the next generation summative tests of the Common Core State Standards will include challenging writing tasks administered and scored by computer.
Independent studies have shown that Writing Roadmap's automated essay grading software can meet or exceed the quality and consistency of human scorers. A recent study sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation determined that automated essay scoring systems – such as Writing Roadmap – are indeed viable ways of assessing students' writing skills.
Through an enhanced online platform, Writing Roadmap 3.0 offers students immediate feedback across five writing traits – Ideas and Content, Organization, Word Choice/Grammar, Conventions, and Mechanics – allowing them to edit their essays more effectively and motivating them to improve their writing skills. The program covers a range of essay styles in which students are expected to become proficient, including descriptive, narrative, persuasive, and informative/expository.
Educators and scientists know that writing is a skill developed through practice. Although no computer-based evaluation of writing is perfect, Writing Roadmap reliably scores nearly a million essays annually. A recent state study demonstrated that students using Writing Roadmap showed increased scores on state summative exams.
In addition to the content-oriented improvements in Writing Roadmap 3.0, the program's new user interface features:
- A more intuitive, tab-based navigation system
- Faster response times
- Greater browser compatibility, including Google Chrome™, Safari®, and Opera™
- Improved grammar checker
- Updated holistic scoring engine
- Narrative reports that provide students with information about their writing skills across the traits measured by Writing Roadmap 3.0 and areas where they can improve their essays
Writing Roadmap 3.0 is available for use in classrooms now. For more information on Writing Roadmap 3.0, including the successes that educators and students have experienced using the program, please visit CTB.com/WritingRoadmap.
CTB/McGraw-Hill has a more than 85-year record of innovation and excellence in assessment, and serves more than 18 million students in all 50 states and in 49 countries. One of the first American publishers to introduce objective, standardized achievement tests to schools, today CTB/McGraw-Hill is a leader in testing with recognized products for online interim and formative, adult, and language proficiency assessment. Dedicated to advancing the use of student performance data to inform instructional decision making, CTB/McGraw-Hill's innovation continues today with technologies that include Web-based assessment and reporting, student response device software, and artificial intelligence for automated scoring of student essays. CTB/McGraw-Hill is part of McGraw-Hill Education, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP). McGraw-Hill Education is a leading global provider of instructional, assessment and reference solutions that empower professionals and students of all ages. For more information, visit CTB.com/AboutUs.