SAGrader as a Learning Analytics Platform

We were pleased to take part last week in MBS Direct Digital’s learning analytics webinar series. (You can listen to the webinar by clicking here.) Big data and analytics are hot topics in education as teachers and administrators sift through the abundance of platforms and programs that leverage learning data into effective strategies for student learning. As Rob Reynolds, Director of MBS Direct Digital, noted during the presentation, the ubiquity of big data in education today presents educators with big learning and teaching opportunities.

But how can students and teachers take advantage of analytics and turn disparate data into positive learning outcomes? The answer to that question depends in part on how teachers have structured their classroom and lesson plans and the goals they have set for student performance. For teachers of content area courses who include writing in their classes, here are a few ways SAGrader is used to collect writing analytics and turn data into actionable strategies to increase student and teacher success.

1. SAGrader’s Content Knowledge Feedback Allows for Student Self-Assessment

Our customers typically use SAGrader in a blended classroom environment where students complete writing assignments outside of class on their own time. This structure allows teachers to apply face-to-face critical thinking and collaboration activities during class.

To promote learning activities outside of class, students complete SAGrader writing assignments by receiving immediate, content knowledge feedback that guides their learning and writing. Each student receives personalized feedback based on their unique short answer or essay response and students use this guidance (or data) to improve their grade and learn course material.

2. Instructors Can Compare Student Writing

In SAGrader it’s easy for instructors to view multiple student writing submissions side-by-side to see exactly what a particular student has done to improve their work. Unlike analyzing raw statistics from multiple choice answers, viewing multiple student writing submissions allows teachers to diagnose how well their students really understand course content.

3. Determine Class and Student Writing Progress

SAGrader’s learning and writing analytics platform allows teachers to view data on how often students revise their writing submissions and also see if their students finish assignments on time, at the last minute, or if they submit assignments after the due date. Such data help teachers know when to intervene in their student’s learning process and suggest remediation that may assist student performance.

4. See How Students Perform Across Learning Objectives

Since SAGrader is able to give students very specific and actionable feedback on their knowledge of course content our product is also able to deliver specific and actionable learning data to instructors. As students complete assignments in SAGrader teachers are able to view student performance across an assignment’s learning objectives.

For example, in a statistics course an instructor can quickly diagnose whether or not his or her students understand the mean or mode in a data set. In a history course, a teacher can view how well his or her students comprehend the causes of the American Revolution in comparison to how proficient students are at explaining the terms of the Treaty of Paris.

SAGrader is more than just a content writing and feedback platform. SAGrader also helps students and instructors make sense of writing analytics and how to use feedback and data to optimize their classroom and learning experiences.

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  • We often think of learning analytics for teachers or administrators, but I’m glad you pointed out the utility of providing these data directly to students as well. It is interesting to think of ways we can help students shape their own learning experiences by keeping them informed of their performance beyond simple letter grades. This can be motivating for students. It also seems that the ability to self-assess and make improvements to your work process is a life skill we should be fostering in our students.