Newport-Mesa Unified School District Recognized for Innovative Teacher Training Using Technology from Turnitin

Revision Assistant helps norm grading and essay feedback for teachers in creative application of education technology supporting writing instruction

Next month, Newport-Mesa Unified School District will vie for top honors as a school district engaged in an innovative, data-driven education program intended to improve student outcomes. Newport-Mesa is using new writing instruction technology from Turnitin to “norm” grading and essay feedback teachers give to their students and was picked as a finalist in the IMS Global Learning Consortium Learning Impact Awards for creative applications of education technology.

Turnitin’s technology is called Revision Assistant and most schools use it to help students write and revise their essays with automated feedback from the program. Revision Assistant’s feedback is very specific and is given whenever a student calls for a signal check. Comments are written by actual teachers but the algorithms are trained to recognize patterns and apply relevant pieces of feedback to guide students as they rewrite their essays. Newport-Mesa took a unique twist on the application of Revision Assistant by using the signal check measures to train teachers how to grade essays more consistently across the district’s grading rubric.

A rubric is a matrix that specifically describes the characteristics an essay must have in order to earn a particular numeric score. Usually there are about four levels of proficiency and five or six categories in a rubric. Revision Assistant is an algorithm-based writing program that compares and evaluates trait-level writing skills aligned to a rubric and is 100 percent consistent in its scoring because algorithms do not vary from their programming. It is difficult, however, for humans to maintain such consistency and Newport-Mesa recognized that this consistency could help them train teachers to better apply their district rubric to writing assignments.

While the district is still in the early stages of training and implementation using Revision Assistant, they have been selected as a finalist in the Learning Impact Awards because of their innovative application of technology. The Learning Impact Awards recognize and promote these types of creative technology programs so that other districts may learn from their use of data-based instruction. The district will present their proposal at the event on May 16 at the Learning Impact Summit.

Revision Assistant has also been recognized by the Association of American Publishers in what is considered by the industry as the most prestigious educator-reviewed product competition in education, the REVERE Awards. Revision Assistant was selected as a finalist in the Innovation category for supplementary resources, which again puts the spotlight on edtech giving schools new ways to improve instructional practices or automate some tasks, which gives teachers more time for direct instruction.



About Turnitin

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's applications are used by more than 30 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, Melbourne, Australia, Seoul, Korea and throughout Latin America.