How was eWrite developed?

All tasks developed for eWrite have been directly designed to appeal to the range of experiences and interests of students in Years 5 to 8. The tasks are interesting and engaging, inspiring students to develop creative individual responses based on their knowledge and personal experience.

Final e-Write writing tasks were selected after piloting and trialling with over 5000 students. Tasks were marked using a criterion-referenced analytical marking guide. The guide incorporates the following criteria:

  • Orientation and engagement
  • Register
  • Text structure
  • Ideas
  • Vocabulary
  • Paragraphing
  • Sentences
  • Sentence punctuation
  • Punctuation in sentences
  • Spelling

Marking

The tasks selected for eWrite were hand marked (double marked and adjudicated where necessary) using the analytic marking guide. The scores were also Rasch analysed and a measurement scale calibrated. The scores were then loaded into the online marking system to create a computer model that replicates hand scoring. The system is designed to 'mimic' the way human scores have been assigned to particular features of writing.

Advantages of computer-based automatic scoring of writing include:

  1. accurate, consistent and reliable marking
  2. the effects of 'marker harshness' are eliminated 
  3. instant marking provides students with increased opportunities to incorporate feedback into their school work
  4. a reduced marking load allows teachers to focus on lesson planning and literacy teaching strategies 

Comparison of human and computer-based marking

There have been a number of research studies into the use of computer-based marking of student writing. Results from these studies suggest that computer-based marking is as consistent as traditional hand scoring.

View the article 'An Overview of Automated Scoring of Essays' (external link) published in the Journal of Technology, Learning and Assessment.