Criterion® Online Writing Evaluation Service

Support and Resources
Customer Testimonials
  • Features

    The Criterion ® service helps writing instructors direct their attention where it is needed most. Students spend more time writing while the system is automatically evaluating each essay within seconds. Teachers can then review the feedback and spend time on what will have the greatest impact in improving individual students’ writing skills. The experts from ETS® developed e-Rater®, the scoring engine behind Criterion, to quickly and reliably give teachers a useful measure to evaluate student writing and help them meet their goals.

    Teacher Benefits

    Criterion saves planning time by allowing teachers to choose from a library of over 400 topics. It also allows more frequent writing tasks and customized assignments based on class needs. Teacher focus is shifted to content and higher writing skills rather than mechanics, and Criterion shows reports on student performance and error patterns.

    Student Benefits

    Criterion allows students to work on any computer or tablet with an Internet connection, at any time. It guides the prewriting process with eight planning templates and provides individualized feedback within ten seconds. Criterion also provides annotated diagnostic feedback and instructor pop-up notes and comments, as well as showing students instructional examples based on their specific errors through nine Writer’s Handbooks (four bilingual). Feedback and revision don’t need to wait until the next school day, which is especially helpful for students in afterschool programs.

    The web-based Criterion service enables students, parents, teachers, and administrators to access essays and reports at the individual or institutional level from any location. Criterion’s unique Development Writing Score (DWS) enables teachers and administrators to review performance against grade-level proficiency throughout the school year—a big help in keeping pace with the demands of next generation academic standards, such as the Common Core State Standards.

    For more information about the Criterion service, or to schedule a product demonstration, contact your local Assessment Account Executive.

    Research Brochure (201 KB)

  • Support and Resources


    HMH and its partner ETS offer in-depth implementation and training support. Please contact your Assessment Account Executive for a customized plan for your needs.


    The HMH and ETS Teams work closely with you to ensure a timely and successful implementation of the Criterion® Online Writing Evaluation service in your school or district. Training by certified Criterion trainers ensures that educators understand the system and can use this powerful instructional tool to its fullest extent.

    For Technical Support, contact ETS at 877.909.6442 or

    To place an order, call HMH Customer Experience at 800.323.9540, or contact your local Assessment Account Executive.

  • Customer Testimonials

    Check out what customers have to say about Criterion.

    Criterion Testimonials (217 KB)

    Bishop Dwenger Catholic High School

    Is there room for improvement in a school that’s already succeeding? Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne had long achieved fairly high scores on the state-mandated Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress (ISTEP). But when school administrators, including Principal Fred Tone, delved deeper into the results, they discovered that writing scores could still be stronger.

    The high school decided to place additional focus on writing and implement the Criterion Online Writing Evaluation service. In the first two years of Criterion use, writing skills noticeably improved for regular, remedial, and honor students at Bishop Dwenger. “Test scores dramatically improved by as much as four times in some cases,” said Tone.

    Read Full Story (169 KB)

    Colfax High School

    Becoming a proficient writer takes practice. At Colfax High School in California, students are getting lots of it thanks to the Criterion Online Writing Evaluation service from ETS. “With the Criterion service, I’m able to assign more… writing because I can evaluate more writing,” said English teacher Michelle Isheim. Frequent writing assignments give students greater opportunities to refine their writing skills.

    Criterion Brochure (0.7 MB)

    System Requirements:

    Criterion Technical Specs (84 KB)