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Students React to WriteToLearn Program

Students React to WriteToLearn Program
English teacher Dana Blank
English teacher Dana Blank was in charge of showing all students how to use the WriteToLearn program. During her presentation, Blank gave the students some helpful hints on how to succeed while using the new program. Photo by Leah Lupu

Within the past couple months, tensions between many students and teachers have been growing. All of the recent commotion has been caused by WriteToLearn, a web-based program that gives students immediate feedback on their written assignments.

English teacher Dana Blank, the main teacher behind the program, has high hopes for how WriteToLearn can help the students.

“I reviewed the program over the summer in August,” Blank said. “I like what it has to offer because it scores over the six traits of writing, so it has a much more accurate way to grade than I do. I take every chance I can to enhance students’ academic achievement.”

Having the most experience with WriteToLearn in the school district, Blank has observed the benefits first hand.

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“I have used the program from both a teacher’s and a student’s point of view,” Blank said. “I now know what students see versus what I see.”

On the other hand, some students have not shared the same positive feelings about the program as the teachers.

“I think it’s hard because you need to have exactly what the computer wants in order to get it right,” senior advanced writing student Macauley Horak said. “I feel like it doesn’t allow you to have your own opinion about things because it’s a computer.”

A common misconception about the WriteToLearn program’s benefits has been traveling through the student body.

“I don’t think WriteToLearn is helping students because most people are just trying to get their assignments done so they don’t even try to do well on them,” Horak said.

Although school has only been in session for four months, Blank has already started to see the results from WriteToLearn.

“One of my favorite things about this program is that a few of my 4.0 students were irate on how challenging it was,” Blank said. “I also had some lower GPA students who got ‘excellents’ all across the board, which lit their fire and got them motivated.”

Junior Jami McClure, and English II student, takes a few minutes out of the day to make progress on her WriteToLearn assignment. McClure hasn’t decided what she thinks about the program yet, but she’s willing to give it a chance. Photo by Leah Lupu

Through all of this academic controversy, students and teachers found one thing to agree on: spellcheck.

“I had my first tri advanced writing class turn in their paper through the website, and the scores were phenomenal,” Blank said. “It checks your grammar and spelling, which helps you proofread.”

Despite some student frustration, the future for the WriteToLearn program looks bright. With assignments under numerous categories, WriteToLearn can be applied to all core subjects. Backed with research by the National Science Foundation and the National Board of Medical Examiners, there are already plans to use the program in language arts, history, and biology classes.

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Students React to WriteToLearn Program