Words Work Wonders



    Subsequent to the initial field test of WordMAP WAAS™ in 1985-86, the following official statement was issued under the district letterhead:

    April 16, 1986


    Long before the advent of A NATION AT RISK, the Lincoln County School District analyzed its curriculum and established goals and objectives for a writing program. However, the assessment of the program and the evaluation of students remained on a rather subjective basis. Coupled with the lack of objective measurement, there was no provision for tracking student writing development from year to year.

    In December of 1984, WordMAP™ was demonstrated by Dr. Eldon Lytle to District administrators and the Board of Trustees. Since the linguistic testing facilities of this software appeared to respond to District needs, approval was granted for a field test of the software.

    During the initial phase of the test, student writing samples were analyzed by WordMAP™ and linguistic norms for the District were established. Subsequently, these norms were used as a basis for comparative evaluation of student linguistic maturity. Other tests relating to WORD-BUILDING SKILLS, USE OF ADVANCED VOCABULARY, VOCABULARY REDUNDANCY, DESCRIPTIVE CONTENT, USE OF COMPLEX STRUCTURES, and PROFICIENCY IN GRAMMAR were also carried out using WordMAP™.

    During the 1986 school year, a two-phase writing cycle was introduced. Students typed first-draft compositions on individual work stations and submitted them to WordMAP™ for a spelling/grammar check. Listings generated by the software marked spelling and grammatical errors for students to correct by themselves. The improved papers were then resubmitted to WordMAP™ for final evaluation and testing.

    The field test has provided objective data relating to specific strengths and weaknesses of our English students which was not previously available to us. As of the current date, the District has purchased additional equipment end is exercising its option to use WordMAP™ on a continuing basis.

    In our opinion, systematic and frequent use of this software as an integral part of a coordinated, district-wide writing program will result in substantially improved writing by our students.

    Signed: Dr. Neldon C. Mathews, Superintendent

    For the full text of the report, click here.

Words Work Wonders

    Seven years later, a principal of that same district issued the following testimonial:

    We've been using WordMAP since 1985. During that period of time, CTBS scores, state proficiency scores, and ACT scores have all shown marked improvement. Teachers appreciate its adaptability to student grade levels and specific instructional tasks. Alumni now attending college frequently request to use WordMAP during home visits.

    Larry Lytle, Principal
    Lincoln County School District
    Pahranagat Valley High School
    Alamo, evada

Words Work Wonders

Other Voices from the Past

    After using WordMAP for four years [early 90s], the overall improvement in student writing has been impressive. Students are finally able to understand the concept of proofread since WordMAP™ makes suggestions and questions sentence construction. With these concrete suggestions students must decide which improvements to make. It also forces students to comprehend grammar concepts. From a teacher point of view, because I am not having to spend so much time correcting conventional mechanical errors, more time can he devoted to improving organization, sentence variety, and overall content.

    Barbara E. Everhart
    English Department Chair
    Lewis Palmer High School
    Monument, Colorado

Words Work Wonders

    Our school purchased WordMAP about two years ago [1980s], and I am sold on its potential for quickly providing feedback to students. Since we purchased the program, Conroe High, another high school in our district has purchased the program. Other schools are considering it for their campus … I am considering doing some research with the program for my doctoral dissertation.

    Bobby Ezell
    English Department Chair
    Oak Ridge High School, Conroe, Texas

Words Work Wonders

    During WordMAP’s original field test [1985-86], one fifth-grade teacher whose students were systematically using the software remarked that for the first time in his career, students  routinely came to him with pointed questions about their writing. The questions, it turned out, were being prompted by icons inserted in their compositions by the  grammar-checker. This, he pointed out, gave him the opportunity to teach the principles of grammar in the context of their own writing.

    Words Work Wonders

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