March 20, 2006 11:10 ET

ETS's 90 New Criterion(SM) Topics Prove Popular With Educators

PRINCETON, NJ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 20, 2006 -- ETS announced today that since it added 90 new essay topics to its Criterion(SM) Online Writing Evaluation three months ago, more than 40,000 essays have been submitted and scored on those topics alone. The 90 new essay topics more than doubled the number of Criterion essay topics that educators can assign to students in grades 4 through 12.

The Criterion service, part of ETS's System 5™ suite of K-12 products and services, is an online learning tool that uses automated scoring technologies to evaluate student essays online. Elementary, middle and high school students across the United States have submitted more than 250,000 essays to the program since the beginning of January.

The Criterion service helps instructors more quickly evaluate student writing skills by scoring essays that students submit and providing annotated diagnostic feedback in real time about the use of grammar, usage, mechanics, style, and organization and development. Teachers set the parameters for each assignment and can add their own comments to student essays in the form of pop-up notes or comments on a private message board.

"Students become proficient writers through constant practice, but teachers have less time than ever to grade writing assignments," says Gregg Driben, Associate Vice President of ETS's Elementary & Secondary Education Division. "The Criterion service gives students the opportunity to work independently in a computer lab or at home to improve their writing. It also reduces the amount of time that a teacher needs to spend reviewing each essay and gives them the information they need to make informed instructional changes."

Educators can choose from a library of persuasive, expository, descriptive and narrative essay topics. All topics are grade-level appropriate in vocabulary and appeal to student interests. Educators can also create their own topics.

For more information about the Criterion service, visit An online tour is available at For more information about ETS's System 5™ suite of K-12 products and services, visit

About ETS

ETS is a nonprofit institution with the mission to advance quality and equity in education by providing fair and valid assessments, research and related services for all people worldwide. In serving individuals, educational institutions and government agencies around the world, ETS customizes solutions to meet the need for teacher professional development products and services, classroom and end-of-course assessments, and research-based teaching and learning tools. Founded in 1947, ETS today develops, administers and scores more than 24 million tests annually, in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. Additional information is available at

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