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Software program helps students learn and improve writing skills

By Julie Glass, right, director, Core Academy and associate dean, Undergraduate Studies

Julie Glass, associate dean, Undergraduate StudiesEducational Innovation, Undergraduate Studies, and the Core Academy are launching a program to support the use of Calibrated Peer Review (CPR). CPR is a web-based software system that allows faculty in classes of any size, from five to 500, to assign short writing assignments. The software works like this:

  • Students grade three model papers against an assignment rubric to calibrate their ability to evaluate the work of their peers. A calibration score will be used to weight the scores they assign to peers’ papers in subsequent steps. 
  • Students grade three other students’ papers.
  • Students grade their own paper.
  • CPR produces a grade for each paper based upon a weighted (by calibration score) average of all peer reviews.

A pilot study last year here at UNT showed that students who complete the CPR process perform better on subsequent writing assignments and do better on assessments related to the essay material. In short, CPR helps students learn, and because grades are generated by the software's algorithm, there is little extra work for faculty.

Wendy Watson, Core Academy instructorSeveral free workshops are scheduled during which Wendy Watson, bottom right, Core Academy instructor, will demonstrate how CPR works and provide details of the results of the pilot study.

If you are interested in using the software in your 2012-2013 classes, she will sign you up and give you everything you need to get started on creating your assignments. Training is scheduled June 7, June 28 and Aug. 2.

CPR is a model for what the Core Academy hopes will be a first step towards the development of a collection of learning objects that will be relatively easy to implement and can be tied to required core objectives.

The goal is to create common tools, language, experiences, and environments that enhance community, connections, facility and familiarity.

The Core Academy seeks to support students, faculty, departments, colleges, and the university in providing a rigorous and relevant experience within the framework of the core that will build long lasting meaningful relationships between and among teachers, learners, and content. 

Posted on: Tue 12 June 2012

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