More Confident Writers: Students Revise More and Improve Their Essays with New Technology from Turnitin

Pilot study confirms Revision Assistant demonstrates effectiveness in
helping middle and high school students improve writing performance.

OAKLAND, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–One evening last spring when eighth grade English teacher, Chelsea
Kordecki, put down her last student’s essay, she smiled. She had just
finished pilot testing a new instructional product from Turnitin
that promised students would revise more often and write better essays.
The product, Revision
, had delivered and Mrs. Kordecki was pleased to see that
it had delivered in a big way.

Students in Mrs. Kordecki’s classes at Riverside Middle School in
Pennsylvania wrote longer essays that were noticeably better. She found
that using the program had helped students develop “a brand new
confidence.” She said, “Using Revision Assistant definitely boosted
their self-esteem.” In a newly released Turnitin pilot
on Revision Assistant’s effectiveness, results from Mrs.
Kordecki’s classes were consistent across all classes participating in
the study. Click
to Tweet

Revision Assistant is an instructional writing tool for middle and high
schools giving immediate and actionable feedback in the form of Signal
Checks to students while they write. The spring 2015 pilot test
evaluated Revision Assistant’s effectiveness in inspiring students to
write, revise and improve their essays. In all, more than 3,400 students
and 164 teachers from 18 schools participated in the pilot. A summary of
the results found:

  • On average, middle school students wrote eleven drafts before
    submitting their final essay and 93 percent revised at least one time.
  • On average, high school students wrote seven drafts before submitting
    their final essay and 94.4 percent revised at least one time.
  • Essays of middle school students initially averaging 178 words grew to
    262 words after using Revision Assistant.
  • Based on a trait-based, 1-4 rubric scale comprised of four
    genre-specific traits, initial average signal checks for middle school
    students before using Revision Assistant was 2.02 which increased to
    2.48 by the fifth draft; and then 2.99 by the final submission.

According to Elijah Mayfield, the Turnitin VP of New Technologies who
developed the product, the actionable feedback Revision Assistant gives
mirrors what takes place in the classroom by design. “The type of
feedback Revision Assistant gives is motivational and specific in where
a student can improve. In other words, the feedback is exactly like the
feedback a teacher would give with the added bonus of being immediate,”
added Mayfield. Watch a conversation with Mayfield on effective
feedback here:

Teachers agree that the immediacy of feedback, given in-line and
attached to the specific highlighted sentence, motivates students to
keep rewriting and improving with each draft.

“That idea that clicking the signal check would highlight some
particular sentence that needed work led students to read over their
work, instantly trying to make it better in a way that they could never
accomplish with my assistance alone. It was a real extension of my
reach,” said TC Niemann, 6-12 grade English teacher at Hostos Lincoln
Academy, in NYC South Bronx.

“My students responded to Revision Assistant in a way I had never
anticipated,” said Mrs. Kordecki. “Getting students to revise, in a
meaningful way not just correcting punctuation and grammar, is perhaps
the most difficult part of my teaching.”

See more video interviews with teachers and students talking about
Revision Assistant here:

About Turnitin

is revolutionizing the experience of writing to learn. Turnitin’s
formative feedback and originality checking services promote critical
thinking, ensure academic integrity and help students improve their
writing. Turnitin provides instructors with the tools to engage students
in the writing process, provide personalized feedback, and assess
student progress over time. Turnitin is used by more than 26 million
students at 15,000 institutions in 140 countries. Backed by Insight
Venture Partners, GIC, Norwest Venture Partners, Lead Edge Capital and
Georgian Partners, Turnitin is headquartered in Oakland, Calif., with
international offices in Newcastle, U.K., Utrecht, Netherlands and
Melbourne, Australia.


for Turnitin
Jennifer Harrison, 916-716-0636