Pearson Unveils Next Generation of WriteToLearn at ISTE 2015

June 29, 2015 in PreK-12 Education

Award-Winning Online Literacy Tool Transforming Learning for Hundreds of Thousands of Students Around the Country

Philadelphia, PA — Today at ISTE 2015 Pearson unveiled the next generation of WriteToLearn, its award-winning online literacy tool. Launched nine years ago, WriteToLearn is transforming literacy instruction for more than a half million students in more than 2,500 schools around the country as they build writing skills, improve their reading comprehension and expand their vocabularies.

WriteToLearn is a complete literacy tool for implementing rigorous learning goals, providing essay writing to build writing skills, summary writing to develop reading comprehension, and vocabulary exercises in select reading passages to expand students’ word knowledge. WriteToLearn’s emphasis on the comprehension and analysis of informational texts supports the requirements of today’s rigorous standards.

With a new and engaging interface, WriteToLearn now allows students to quickly review their progress within the same screen, viewing their work and feedback while staying focused on their assignments. Students will see a horizontal display of drafts of their work as well as scores and feedback that are easy to understand. An enhanced student assignments dashboard quickly shows students where they need to focus their attention and the progress that they are making. In addition, student work is automatically saved as they compose. New capabilities make district-wide management of WriteToLearn even easier than before. The tool features a new teacher roster upload capability and a roster provisioning API (application programming interface) that allows districts to quickly and easily upload student information.

The experience of Ingrid Fedge, a teacher at St. Vrain School District’s Coal Ridge Middle School in Longmont, Colorado, is illustrative of what is happening in schools around the country where students are building literacy skills with WriteToLearn. Fedge who teaches in a literacy lab for sixth, seventh and eighth grade struggling writers, shared this story from her classroom: “An eighth grade girl who has been in the literacy lab for three years and has had some legal and attendance problems asked me to print out an assignment because it was the best thing she ever wrote. She told me she wanted to take it home to show her Mom. She would never have built this confidence without WriteToLearn.”

Ellie Johnson, teacher at Old Adobe Elementary School in Petaluma, California, is realizing similar significant gains in literacy skills and confidence with her students.

She said, “Students do not normally get this engaged with writing; fixing problems and writing multiple drafts is not something they are usually excited about doing. It is great that so much feedback is provided to each student and they can use it to improve their writing.”

“This year at ISTE 2015, Pearson is focused on the ways that learning must be reimagined to prepare students for the careers of the future. With the rapid pace of change in today’s world, we may not know for sure what the jobs of the future will be, but we do know that for success in any field it is critical that students develop strong writing and reading comprehension skills,” said Alistair Van Moere, Ph.D., head of Pearson’s Assessment Product Solutions group. “During our year-long development process for the next generation of WriteToLearn, we talked to teachers from around the country, like Ingrid and Ellie, to get their insights into how we could make WriteToLearn an even more powerful tool for ensuring that all students develop the literacy skills requisite for success in school, college and the jobs of the future.”

WriteToLearn also features an essay-scoring rubric that maps to college- and career-readiness and helps put students on the path to building robust writing and reading-comprehension skills. The essay-scoring rubric establishes performance benchmarks for new types of writing prompts, including argumentative, informational and narrative essays. WriteToLearn evaluates five specific traits of writing – task and focus; development; organization; language and style; and conventions – representing attributes of writing that address the increasing sophistication expected of students as they advance through grade levels.

Developed based on more than 15 years of research and evaluation at the University of Colorado and New Mexico State University, WriteToLearn is illustrative of Pearson’s overall commitment to collaborating with educators to develop next-generation assessments that will improve student achievement.