Austin, TX, December 6, 2010 — Texas schools pushing for improved grammar and performance in writing by the texting and Twitter generation of students will get help from a new high-tech “Writing Coach.”
The State Board of Education recently approved a plan to offer Pearson’s Texas Writing Coach as a tool for school districts to make sharp improvements in student performance in writing to help better prepare them for college and future careers.
The new comprehensive writing and grammar program provides print and digital instructional materials which teachers can easily customize for students individual learning needs, whether they’re English language learners; advanced; struggling and trying to catch up in class; on-level or have other unique needs.
Texas Writing Coach will be available in Texas classrooms for the 2011-12 school year.
The interactive, writing and grammar program helps middle and high school students grow into independent writers. Aligned with the state TEKS curriculum and college and career readiness standards, it was built exclusively for Texas teachers and students and is organized for easy use. The program gives students personalized help through a digital writing “coach” that gives immediate feedback to individual students, right down to the paragraph level of essays.
“Writing Coach’s instant feedback for students will help teachers save an enormous amount of time in creating individualized instruction,” said Raymond Ward, Pearson Vice President for Texas. “This program will help Texas’ excellent teachers to do some wonderful things with students in their work to improve as writers.”
When students log on from their computers at school or at home, they will be greeted by the Interactive Writing Coach, a next generation technology program that will study students’ work and give them feedback immediately on their entire essays and each paragraph of the essay. The tool will look at the students’ work in progress, one paragraph at a time, and analyze the ideas, topic support and organization in the students’ work. The online tutor will give students instructions for each step of the writing process along with links explaining the writing terminology. As the students work with the online, interactive tool, they can look at model essays as a tool for improving their writing.
Students also will get a grammar boost with the new Writing Coach program, with a large amount of grammar practice built into the program.
The new program includes the “Find It/FIX IT Grammar Game Plan”, which allows teachers to target their instruction and lessons around the 20 most frequent grammatical errors that students make in their writing.
Texas Writing Coach also allows school district leaders to monitor student performance data and easily and quickly customize and deploy instructional resources into schools across the district by loading content right onto the learning platform available in each classroom.
Among the authors of Texas Writing Coach is veteran educator, instructional coach, and authority on grammar and writing, Jeff Anderson. He applied his experience in schools including San Antonio, Houston and Austin for his work on the interactive instructional program. Sought nationwide for his expertise, the award-winning Texas author helps teachers with writing strategies for their students with a special focus on support for struggling writers.
“Every educator knows falling behind is one of students’ toughest challenges. The overwhelming feeling that there is no chance of getting caught up is one that Texas Writing Coach stops in its tracks,” Anderson said. “By helping break down the writing assignments and giving students instantaneous feedback, the Interactive Writing Coach helps students immediately identify exactly where the gaps are and provides instructional exercises customized to address those issues so they can master them and move forward.”
A high school teacher known nationally as a top educator for helping make students college-ready in reading and writing, Kelly Gallagher also contributed to the development of Texas Writing Coach. Winner of the Classroom Award for Classroom excellence California’s highest honor for English teachers, Gallagher is a former English coordinator for the Anaheim Union High School District and adjunct professor at the University of California, Fullerton.
“Writing and grammar are critical to students’ success in English courses but also affect their performance in every other subject area and, in turn, on their college and job opportunities,” Gallagher said. “There’s no time to waste in today’s classrooms, and Writing Coach helps teachers and students quickly recognize stumbling blocks and provides comprehensive resources, online and in print, to help get students on the path to college and career readiness.”
Evelyn Arroyo, a former Texas “Teacher of the Year” also is a contributing author of Texas Writing Coach. She is author and founder of A+RISE – Research-based Instructional Strategies for English Language Learners. Former teacher, principal, and district administrator, Arroyo’s work focuses on closing the achievement gap for English language learners and students with other unique needs.
Pearson (NYSE:PSO) is Texas’ leading provider of technology in the classroom and has been supplying education materials to Texas schools as far back as the 1800s. You may know us individually as Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, Longman, SuccessMaker, NovaNet, PowerSchool, Educational Measurement, Educational Assessment, SuccessNet, Learning Teams, and so many more – names in the world of education that are recognized and respected across the State and the globe. In fact, most teachers in Texas have learned their profession by studying with Pearson’s Merrill or Allyn & Bacon textbooks, and many have benefited from our professional development programs. We provide education and testing materials from birth through professional learning as well as the school systems that maintain student information data for thousands of schools. Our business offices are located in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio, but our 2,000 Pearson people are living and working in every school district across the State. For more information, go to: http://www.pearsonschool.com.