Applications of Automated Essay Evaluation in West Virginia

Authored by: Changhua S. Rich , M. Christina Schneider , Juan M. D’Brot

Handbook of Automated Essay Evaluation

Print publication date:  April  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9781848729957
eBook ISBN: 9780203122761
Adobe ISBN: 9781136334801


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The National Commission on Writing (2003) summarized the importance of writing in American schools: “Writing is not a frill for the few, but an essential skill for the many” (p. 11). West Virginia policymakers have focused on the importance of writing in students’ education. For over 25 years West Virginia has been a leader in writing instruction and assessment. The state began a statewide, stand-alone assessment of writing in 1984. In 2005, West Virginia was among the first states to adopt automated essay evaluation (AEE) in both formative and summative assessments. In 2008, the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) joined the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), a national organization advocating the instruction of critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity, and innovation. West Virginia policymakers consider effective writing to be one of the most powerful methods of communication. As such, stakeholders prioritized writing instruction by placing it into the state’s curriculum standards, the West Virginia 21st Century Content Standards and Objectives. Beginning in 2009, the WVDE made writing a sizeable part of the reading/language arts (RLA) portion of West Virginia Education Standards Test 2 (WESTEST 2), the state’s assessment for accountability under the No Child Left Behind statute. The WVDE intended to emphasize writing through a performance task on WESTEST 2 to collect evidence of the 21st century skills of critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and communication.

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