Detroit Public Schools Expand Use of MY Access!® Online Writing Program in Classrooms

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Students’ improvement on high stakes exams prompts school district to increase use of Vantage Learning’s MY Access!

I see a love for writing being created through MY Access! because the students enjoy the instant feedback and it’s something, as a teacher, we just can’t give

Teachers in Detroit Public Schools have something new to celebrate this fall with the results of the Michigan Merit Examination (MME). The students’ scores increased by 11 points in writing this year, a dramatic improvement many teachers attribute to the use of a highly effective online writing program.

Vantage Learning’s online learning program, MY Access!, has been one of the motivating factors behind Detroit public schools’ decision to increase the number of students who will be using the program for their 2009/2010 school year. Not only did the increase in scores warrant this expansion, but the positive feedback from students currently using it, as well as the teachers’ desire to use the program across their curriculum.

Last year 300 10th graders used the program, and now through fundraising and grants, all 500 ninth graders at Cass Technical High School, part of Detroit Public High Schools, will be using the program in their classrooms. Teachers like Audrey Gates, a 10th grade English teacher, who has been using the program since it was brought into the school three years ago, firmly believes in its benefits for a students’ writing proficiency.

“I see a love for writing being created through MY Access! because the students enjoy the instant feedback and it’s something, as a teacher, we just can’t give,” says Gates. When I assign essays, students are constantly asking, ‘Did you check my essay? Did you check my essay?’ But when you have 175 essays in front of you, you can’t get through them as efficiently as you’d like. MY Access! allows you to push a button and get instant feedback. It is incredibly motivating for them.” Gates has seen the expansion as inevitable due to the positive progress in the classroom.

MY Access! instantly analyzes over 400 semantic, syntactic, and discourse characteristics, and scores students on focus and meaning, organization, content and development, language use and style, mechanics and conventions, and overall writing proficiency. The instantaneous feedback has resulted in Detroit students increased frequency of writing and drastically improved writing achievement.

“Detroit is just one of many school districts we work with, within the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS), that has implemented MY Access! into their curriculum and seen incredibly positive results in students’ writing proficiency,” says Harry Barfoot, Vice President of Vantage Learning. “Milwaukee Public Schools and Anchorage School District recently expanded their long-term commitment to MY Access! due to the results their students and teachers have achieve. Detroit stands as yet another CGCS district to expand their use of MY Access! this year.”

Another benefit of implementing the program for all ninth graders was the ability to go cross-curricular in hopes to form learning communities, which can be difficult in a school of over 2,000 students. Many students have one teacher for English, another teacher for science, and another teacher for social studies. With a cross-curricular program with MY Access! teachers can implement writing that touches on each of their subject areas. The science and social studies teachers have their students writing, but if writing is not their field this program is extremely beneficial for the teachers. It gives them a chance to deal more with the content of the writing and not the mechanics.

Teachers in the Detroit public schools are looking forward to expanding the use of MY Access! and seeing even further measurable results of overall academic achievement through the integration of educational technology into their classrooms.

ABOUT VANTAGE LEARNING:
A pioneer in providing a Software as a Service (SaaS) model to deliver solutions to educators, Vantage Learning is recognized as the leader in cost-effective, high volume, secure, scalable online assessment and instructional programs for K-12 school districts. Leveraging technology such as artificial intelligence, natural language understanding, and Web-based learning objects, Vantage provides educators with high-quality tools and resources that motivate students to learn and that create meaningful interaction between students, parents and teachers.

Acknowledged by industry leaders as the gold standard for scoring quality, consistency, reliability, and scalability of automated essay scoring using the patented IntelliMetric® engine, Vantage Learning has received accolades ranging from the prestigious CODIE Award for best instructional technology to recognition by Eduventures as one of the eight most innovative educational technology companies.

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Katie Nicolai

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