Wednesday, September 11, 2019

College-Ready Writing Essentials™ by BetterRhetor Review

I was super excited for A to improve her academic writing by working through the College-Ready Writing Essentials program from BetterRhetor.  She used the online Premium package, which contained 25 lessons and she had to submit an essay at the end of the program for grading and feedback from Dr. Bryant.

The target audience for this program is high school juniors and seniors as well as recent high school grads.  A is entering her sophomore year.  I thought this would be a great program for her to complete and she can repeat it if necessary when she is a senior as she has a lifetime access to this program!

The 25 lessons are intended to be completed over a five week period.  Lesson 1 is an overview of the program.  Lessons 2-11 cover planning.  Lessons 12-19 cover drafting.  Lessons 20-23 cover revising.  And Lessons 24-25 cover finalizing.

I like the way this is set up online with the lesson bar on the side as well as a program tracker bar.

Here you can see that A has completed more of this course as her tracking bar is now 36%.

This course is a self-guided online program that's available for individuals and small groups.  It is the "home" version of the instructional resource developed by William Bryant, PhD for high schools, colleges and universities.  It is available in two packages - full or premium.  The main difference between the two packages is that Dr. Bryant gives personal essay feedback in the premium version (and there is a full teacher's guide available as well).

CRWE guides students step-by-step through the complex process of writing a first-rate research based persuasive essay.  The type they will be expected to write in college.  I really like that the lessons contain detailed instructions and that they are written to the student.  In addition, lessons include links to real examples.  There are downloadable exercises and worksheets for students to complete as they work through this course.  Since A is homeschooled, David and I completed most of the peer evaluations sheets.

A chose to write her persuasive essay on the topic of Space Exploration.  It is a topic that really interests her and I love that she went to the library and checked out numerous space books.  She also spent a huge amount of time researching online.  I'm really proud of her for the work that she put into her paper.

A completed her essay!  The tracking bar is 100%.

A with her essay on The Benefits of Space Exploration.

What did A think?  A was thrilled that she was able to pick her own topic.  A thought this course was thorough and had good explanations.  She didn't understand 100% of the material but she felt like she was able to understand most it because of the explanations.  She really appreciated the examples, especially for those times when she didn't quite understand what she needed to do.  She liked the strategies and thinks they will be helpful in the future.  She thinks Dr. Bryant's feedback was very helpful.  She feels that he made a lot of comments to her that will help her improve her writing skills and overall be a better writer.  She has more confidence and knows what skills she can work on more.

I cannot stress how helpful Dr. Bryant's personal feedback was for A.  If you are like me, it can be hard to help guide and teach your child/student through the complete process of writing and give feedback.  Having Dr. Bryant's feedback really completed the program for me as it gave A ideas and suggestions for improving her personal writing.  This was so valuable!

Here are some excerpts from Dr. Bryant's feedback to A.
     Your passion for your topic shines through, while the tone of your prose stays consistently serious-minded and evenhanded.  This demonstrates good awareness of what's expected of an academic essay, and it takes skill to achieve.  In addition, you found and drew from credible sources, so you're working with trustworthy information, which shows that you understand the importance of intellectual integrity in an academic setting.  Well done.
     As you move toward college-level writing, I suggest that you consider narrowing your focus when faced with an assignment like this.  As a topic, the costs and benefits of space exploration is perhaps too broad to deal with effectively in a short essay.  Better suited to the scope of this project would be a more specific topic, such as, for example, whether we should send people to Mars, the privatization of space exploration, the creation of a "space force," or the growing competition among nations to find usable natural resources on the Moon.

I'm not going to put all of his comments and feedback here but I hope this gives you an idea.  We were not disappointed and if you have the ability to go with the Premium package I would highly recommend it so that you can have his valuable feedback as well.

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