MY Access Training at BMS on 5/21/12

Jane Cook worked with the BMS Grade 6, 7, & 8 Teams on MY Access. Teachers created groups and assignments, looked at data, and discussed plans for how to make the most effective use of MY Access next year with their students. Below is a report that Jane put together for the Board of Education so that they could see how it is being used and the kind of data that teachers can get from it to inform their planning and instruction:
MY Access: A Powerful Tool for Literacy Development
As William Zinsser, renowned writer, editor, literary critic, teacher, and author of the seminal work On Writing Well, so aptly states, “Writing is thinking on paper.” More accurately in the 21st Century, writing is thinking on the computer. MY Access, an online writing tool developed by Vantage Learning, allows students to write and think on the computer. According to the Vantage Learning Web site, “MY Access! School Edition is a Web-based, cross-curricular program that transforms writing instruction and assessment by applying superior artificial intelligence and linguistic technologies to the writing process. Educators can make timely, data-driven decisions for successful differentiated instruction and motivate students to write more frequently by providing them with immediate feedback” (Source:
MY Access is not just a writing assessment tool; it’s a powerful tool for writing instruction. It gives students immediate feedback on their writing and encourages them to revise, which is the heart of good writing. In the MY Access Resource and Training Center, available to teachers and students once they've logged in, there is a wealth of extremely useful resources including User Guides; Curriculum, Planning and Instruction tools; Instructional documents; and MY Access Prompt and Writing Resources. Many of these resources, such as the Word Banks, the Student Activity Workbook, and the MY Access Instructional Units can be printed and used in "hard copy" even if laptop carts and computer labs are not available. Some teachers turn the Word Banks into posters or make copies of the 8 1/2 x 11 sheets that students can keep in their notebooks.
The MY Access! Writer's Guide is an online writing textbook which is available to students and teachers. It helps students learn about the steps in the writing process and includes online chapters on each of the five traits/domains of writing that students receive scores in when responding to MY Access Intellimetric writing assignments. These five domains of writing are: 1) focus and meaning, 2) content and development, 3) organization, 4) language use and style, and 5) mechanics and conventions.
Glen Lessig created a BMS Wiki, located at , in October 2009 to provide ongoing resources and support for the BMS teachers who were working on the 21st Century Learning Environments grant and MY Access licenses were purchased for BMS students and teachers. Jane Cook, EASTCONN Literacy and Technology Specialist, has provided training and has added pages to the BMS Wiki with virtual resources on MY Access and writing. Hyperlinks to those pages can be found in the menu on the left-hand side of the BMS Wiki or can be directly accessed by clicking on the links below:
Jane has provided training and support in MY Access for the Grade 6, 7, & 8 Teams during the 2011-12 school year. She has helped them explore some of the MY Access tools and resources, create writing assignments, review reports, and analyze data. Below are some tables and graphs of data that show how MY Access is helping students at BMS become proficient writers.

BMS MY Access Data from 2011-12
The table below shows Brooklyn Middle School’s MY Access pre-assessment data for the entire 6th grade from the fall of 2011. MY Access generated a graph and a table with the average scores for the 84 students who took the prompt entitled: What Have You Learned? Students took this writing prompt by handwriting their responses and then typing them into MY Access afterwards. The writing assignments are scored on a 6-point scale, the same one used on the Connecticut Mastery Test. Below is a table as well as a graph showing the average scores across all domains of writing for the BMS 6th graders at the beginning of the 2011-12 school year:

Comparison of 6th Graders MY Access Scores from Fall of 2011 to Winter of 2012

Below is a graph which compares the BMS 6th graders average scores on their fall benchmark writing assignment as compared with their winter benchmark writing assignment:

When examining the graph above, it is easy to see that the average holistic score improved by almost one full point between the fall and the winter. In addition, the average 6th graders’ score went up in every domain of writing that is assessed by MY Access.
The spring benchmark is scheduled to be administered at the end of May. When the 6th grade teachers looked at examples of student assignments that have been completed since February of 2012, they found that the average score is now above 4.0 which is the Proficient level on the Connecticut Mastery Test.

Individual Student Progress Data
The graphs below show examples of student progress over time. They are examples of two different 6th grade students who have shown tremendous progress in their writing development. These are just a sampling of the kinds of data that is available in MY Access for teachers to use to inform their planning and instruction.

Data from a BMS 6th Grader
The graph below is an example of one 6th grade student who raised her holistic score from 1.8 to 5.2 with 7 revisions of her piece. This is a student whose writing began in the “at-risk” category or the equivalent of the Below Basic level on the CMT Direct Assessment of Writing (DAW). With 7 revisions, she was able to achieve the equivalent of the Goal level on the CMT DAW.

Data from a Special Needs Student:
Below is an example of a 6th grader from a different class who raised her holistic score from 2.2 to 6.0. After 10 submissions of her writing assignments, which means that this student made 9 revisions to her piece, she achieved the highest score on the 6-point scale which is the equivalent of the Advanced level on the CMT DAW. This is a student with special needs who is clearly showing tremendous progress with the instant feedback and scaffolding that MY Access is providing.

Looking at a MY Access Error Analysis Report
Below is an example of an Error Analysis Report that was generated in MY Access for one of the 7th grade teachers from the mid-winter benchmark assessment. This type of report gives teachers information about the kinds of grammar, mechanics, style, and usage errors that their students are making in their writing. This data is very valuable for targeting the kind of direct instruction that teachers can give to their students to support their writing development. Teachers can view the kinds of errors that individual students have been making which allows them to differentiate their instruction to meet the needs of all of their students.

NOTE: The number of spelling errors is an inflated number. Spelling errors will likely always be inaccurate because proper nouns that are not found in the MY Access dictionary will be counted as errors even when they are spelled correctly.