Ecree, an automated assessment tool that helps students improve their writing through real-time feedback on written assignments, has announced the launch of a new product to make virtual writing tutors available directly to students.
The product, called Interactive Editor, uses artificial intelligence to replicate teacher-quality feedback on essay organization, argumentation, evidence, and analysis. The new tool helps solve for a critical gap in supplemental education services by providing on-demand writing help that is accessible from any device and any location.
“Writing is not just another skill to be mastered along the path to finishing school—it is the very engine that powers success in the classroom and, increasingly, success in the workplace,” said Jamey Heit, co-founder and CEO of Ecree. “This work is about democratizing access to writing feedback and guidance to help learners unlock their full potential as writers and communicators.”
Research, according to Ecree, has shown that a lack of strong writing skills remains a barrier to student success for many students at both the K-12 and college levels. The company adds that according to the recent National Assessment of Educational Progress, approximately three-quarters of both 12th and 8th graders lack proficiency in writing.
In addition, 40 percent of high school students who took the ACT writing assessment lacked the reading and writing proficiency required to complete a college-level English composition course.
Moving beyond basic grammar and spelling corrections, Ecree says its virtual writing tutor product provides consistent, teacher-quality feedback on essay organization, argumentation, clarity, and use of evidence in ways that approximate the experience of working in-person with a teacher or tutor.
The company says it received a $500,000 seed investment from SEI Ventures in 2018 to help it develop its assessment capabilities and scale its offerings to more students in higher education.