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Turlock Christian takes writing essays to a new level for students
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Teachers are hustling to grade dozens of essays in a timely manner, students anxiously wait for their corrected essay and in the end the corrections are too late. By the time most teachers are able to give students their corrected essay, students already forgot what they wrote about.

This is why Turlock Christian is bringing in a new writing program called MY Access!

The program uses a computer that actually grades the essays within 10 seconds of the student’s submission. Students can revise their essays accordingly and submit them until they are satisfied with their submissions.

“The powerful thing is that this system encourages revisions to increase the rubric score,” said Tom Freeman, Turlock Christian Junior High School principal. “Teachers can work more with students about the thought process in the essay instead of focusing on periods and misspellings.”

Turlock Christian will be implementing the program in their high school classes this week and starting the program at the junior high school level in January 2011.

The program helps teachers use their time more for developing their students’ writing, while the computer focuses on organization, mechanics, focus and meaning, and content and development, Freeman said.

It helps both the teachers and the students.

“We can’t process their essay’s fast enough,” said Marjory Peterson, English teacher at Turlock Christian High School. “We are expecting more and better results from this program.”

Peterson said that at Prescott Senior Elementary School in Modesto, they saw a 27 percent a year growth increase in their students’ writing.

Jevon Swanson, a teacher at Prescott Senior Elementary School, saw a difference in his students with the writing program.

“This program allows the students to work at their own pace and figure things out their way,” he said. “The real benefit is they get more practice. They get to write and revise with instant feedback. We (Prescott students) were writing four full essays a year and now we are able to write one full essay a week with this program.”

Teachers will set the prompt for the essay and students will type up their essay online, Freeman said. Once they submit the essay, the computer grades the essay. They are graded on a score of one to six and they can revise their essays to get a better score.

The program will record each student’s individual growth and assignments for teachers to keep track of, Swanson said. Students can watch their own progress as well.

Through the tracking, teachers can see reports on the number of times the student writes using the program, how long they took writing, their strengths and their weaknesses, he said. And through Turlock Christian’s school system, teachers can track students from Junior High to High School.

“It will be easier to see their skill level improve,” said Elizabeth Nieuwsma, teacher at Turlock Christian. “With the program online, it will be more natural for the students since they are on the computer anyways.”

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141