PreK-12 Market Headlines

Benchmark Releases Digital Independent Writing Program

NEW ROCHELLE, NY, Sept. 5, 2017 - Literacy specialist Benchmark Education Company (BEC) introduced a fully-digital writing program for grades 2-8: Benchmark Writer's Universe. Benchmark Education created this online program in response to the overwhelming need in schools for quality writing instruction products to meet the new writing standards in the primary and secondary grades. Benchmark Writer's Universe writing instruction program won a 2017 BESSIE Award for educational excellence. Available now, Benchmark Writer's Universe is a self-paced digital writing workshop that encourages students to work together and with their teacher to sharpen their writing skills and provide feedback with peers and their teacher in a collaborative environment.

The program spans grades 2-8 and covers six genres of writing projects and delivers instruction on six types of genre, including opinion, narrative, and informational text.  Students answer writing prompts addressing opinion about a text, opinion about a topic, personal narrative, fiction, and informative/explanatory science and social studies texts. Teachers can create a writing prompt and instantly assign the project to their students. With all writing done and submitted online, there are no printed materials to replace or manage. Learning time is extended, as students can log in to the online program outside of school. Benchmark Writer's Universe is available in both English and Spanish languages.

With a national epidemic of low student performance in writing and pressure on teachers to help them improve while meeting increasingly difficult standards, the need for a resource such as Benchmark Writer's Universe is clear. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in "The Nation's Report Card: Writing 2011," 20 percent of eighth graders and 21 percent of twelfth performed below basic writing achievement levels for their respective grades. Only 3 percent in each grade were considered advanced.

"Benchmark Writer's Universe is a comprehensive resource that helps teachers customize and amplify their writing instruction to improve students' writing performance," said Tom Reycraft, Benchmark Education Company President and CEO. "This powerful instructional program prepares students to meet or exceed the new writing standards, and sets the stage for college-bound students to succeed after high school and beyond."

By providing unlimited practice and guidance throughout the entire writing process across genres, Benchmark Writer's Universe sets the groundwork for teachers to measurably improve students' writing. Students are walked through every step of the process and can see clearly labeled task tabs that visually show which step they are on within each assignment. Students are automatically guided through brainstorming, topic selection, planning, drafting, revising, and editing their work. They ultimately arrive at the publishing phase, where they have access to self- and teacher-assessment, and self-reflection.

To ensure that students have a solid understanding of the genres, instructional videos and written guides introduce each genre. This preview includes a visual features overview and mentor text that the student reads and analyzes with an interactive drag-and-drop activity. Students can go back to review information as needed. Unlimited re-use of each genre allows for infinite opportunities for application of writing skills.

Student-to-student, teacher-to-student, and on-page comments are available throughout the writing project for peer and teacher collaboration. Students can collaborate with other students and their teacher to receive private feedback on writing without ever having to raise their hand. Once they begin writing a draft, students are provided with onscreen checklists to guide them through each step of the writing process. An online rubric is available so that the student always knows the expectations and grading criteria for each writing assignment. Interactive self-assessment and teacher assessment tools allow students and teachers to evaluate writing based on the rubric.

Students can publish their writing digitally. All steps of the writing process are captured and saved to each student's online account. Final drafts can be printed or exported for sharing with others.

Benchmark Writer's Universe gives teachers full control over students' writing projects.
Teachers can virtually review projects as students are working in them. They can also choose to lock steps in each project, allowing the teacher to review work to make sure students are on track before moving ahead. 

Availability
Benchmark Writer's Universe is available now as an annual subscription in English or Spanish and works on any computer or device with Internet access. For information, to download a flyer or to view a demo video, visit www.benchmarkeducation.com/writersuniverse or call Benchmark Education at 877-236-2465.

Benchmark Education Company
Headquartered in New Rochelle, NY, Benchmark Education Company is a leading publisher of PreK-12 core, supplemental, and intervention literacy resources in English and Spanish. These resources are supported by instructional technology solutions as well as on-site and online customized professional development training for teachers and administrators. Benchmark Education's print and online resources are research-based and differentiated to support all learners in a wide variety of instructional settings. In addition to extensive educational use in the USA, Benchmark Education resources are also used in schools and training centers in the Middle East, Canada, South America, and Asia.

Contact: Josh Bicknell, Benchmark Education Company, 914-560-1258, JBicknell@benchmarkeducation.com