Targeted Problem Solving

Quill

Problem

A New York City Department of Education study found that 76% of eighth graders were not proficient in writing; the problem is particularly acute among low-income ESL students.

Solution

Quill is a free, personalized online learning tool that helps students build writing, grammar, and proofreading skills. We underwrote a research pilot program in three Icahn Charter School Network (ICS) schools to roll out the use of Quill’s newest feature: a sentence-combining tool.

Sentence combining is recognized as one of 11 highly-effective strategies for developing writing skills. In sentence combining, students take multiple ideas and combine them into a single sentence, which requires them to examine relationships between ideas, order those ideas, and express them logically and succinctly.

Quill is working with the ICS team to build a custom set of materials aligned with their curriculum as well as the Core Knowledge Curriculum. (The Core Knowledge Foundation has built a logical sequence to standardize the teaching of writing. There is no obvious sequence for writing instruction as there is for math in which, for example, a student must learn subtraction prior to learning long division.) Quill is creating new exercises and questions to align with both Ichan Charter School’s content and the Core Knowledge Curriculum.