How to Easily Assess Student Writing in Google Docs
WriQ is a FREE tool that helps teachers assess writing in Google Docs. This Google Docs add-on helps teachers not only assess writing, including grammar, punctuation, spelling and more but also helps teachers track progress over time.
This is a guest post by Jason Carroll from texthelp.
Scoring and keeping track of student writing can be a tedious and time-consuming task for educators. On the bright side, those using G Suite for Education or similar online services have seen many improvements over the years. The ability to instantly share a doc with the click of a button, track changes, offer suggestions, tag students in comments, and have the ability to view work anytime/anywhere has been a game changer for many.
Even so, reading through each student’s work and taking the time to provide meaningful feedback can take hours. Multiply this by the number of classes taught in a day, and it’s easy to see how a teacher may never catch up. And then there’s the process of measuring progress over time. Is the student getting better or worse with each writing? Which pieces do they need the most support with?
At Texthelp, we’ve been thinking a lot about these sorts of things over the years and have recently developed a free Google Docs Add-on called WriQ to help. The goal of WriQ is to provide teachers with a way to quickly analyze their students’ writing in Google Docs – and track their progress over time. It provides useful metrics like:
- Word and sentence count
- Words per sentence
- Correct and Incorrect word sequences
- Time spent writing
- Grammar, punctuation and spelling errors
Teachers can review and adjust this information as needed, then provide it (along with written feedback) to students directly in their Google Doc.
(If you’d prefer to see WriQ in action, you can view a 3-minute video here.)
To install WriQ, simply open a Google Doc, choose Add-ons, then click “Get add-ons”. Search for “WriQ” in the new window that appears and click the button to install.
To use WriQ, open a student’s writing in a Google Doc. Then, select WriQ from the Add-ons menu, which will populate a sidebar to the right of the doc. (Note that the first time you use WriQ, you’ll have to choose whether you are a student or teacher and answer a few questions about your school, district, and grades taught.)
In the sidebar, you’ll see the teacher’s name (most likely you), followed by the main writer of the document and their grade level. If more than one person contributed to the document, you will be able to see that via the Main Writer dropdown. Similarly, if the student’s grade is incorrect, you can change it via the Grade dropdown.
Once you’ve confirmed everything is accurate, choose a genre (the big three are included: narrative, informative, and argumentative) and click “Score this document”.
In a few seconds, a new window will appear with a list of errors that WriQ found.
If you see errors that WriQ missed, simply click where the error occurred and mark it. Similarly, if you see an error WriQ picked up that isn’t really an error, you can unmark it. This is important as the more feedback WriQ receives, the more accurate it will get over time. You’ll also see other metrics WriQ tracks, including word and sentence count, correct word sequences, time spent writing and more. The “WriQ” score at the top of the list currently reports the percentage of the document that is free of errors.
New with WriQ is the introduction of rubrics. After reviewing the errors and metrics listed above, clicking the “Next” button will take you to the rubric area. Each rubric is specific to the grade and genre chosen earlier.
Completing the rubric is as simple as choosing the description that best matches the student’s writing for each area. Once finished, click “Save” to be taken to a summary screen where you can enter in any additional feedback and insert it into the student’s document.
One of the most beneficial features of WriQ is the Dashboard, which can be accessed by opening WriQ from the Add-on menu and choosing “Go to Dashboard” from the sidebar. This will open a new window where you can view a history of each student’s writing and track their progress over time.
What’s next for WriQ
It’s still early days for WriQ. Currently we’re focused on encouraging more teachers to use the product so that it can more accurately mark errors and eventually estimate rubric scores.
WriQ will remain free for grading individual student documents and tracking progress over time. Integration with Google Classroom is also being looked into. In the future, WriQ will be able to help teachers quickly assess student writing and compare those scores with others in the same grade, school, district and state. This will provide actionable feedback that individual teachers (and districts as a whole) can use to improve student performance.
Have you had a chance to try WriQ yet? If not, install it today and give it a try. If you have any feedback or questions be sure to visit Texthelp’s educator community and let us know.
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