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. student work is scored instantly, giving teachers and school administrators immediate access to individual and group reports
  4. time usually allocated to marking can be spent analysing students' results to help inform teaching and learning.

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.