Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Educational Testing Service Announce Criterion® Online Writing Evaluation Service Enhancements

SAN ANTONIO – Global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), in collaboration with Educational Testing Service (ETS) today announced new powerful enhancements to the Common Core State Standards-aligned Criterion® Online Writing Evaluation service.

Developed by ETS and distributed exclusively within the K-12 market by HMH’s Riverside division, the Criterion service is an instructional tool with built-in progress measures, making it a critical solution for teachers who are preparing their students to improve writing scores on the new high-stakes tests.  Featured at the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE 2013), a national conference for technology-using educators, the Criterion service facilitates a teacher’s ability to help students plan, write, and revise essays, focusing on major Common Core themes like higher level writing, logical reasoning, and critical thinking. The immediacy of feedback – in less than 20 seconds through the Criterion service’s use of the e-rater® engine –allows students time to develop better writing skills.  The next generation Criterion service is also tablet compatible, making it possible to access reports, projects, and student portfolios from anywhere at any time.  

The Criterion service peer review tool is another useful aspect of the enhancements, one that allows students to collaborate and comment on each other’s work.  Students may send draft essays to their peers, who in turn may provide useful criticism to each essay.  Furthermore, the Criterion service will automatically provide grammar, word usage, and style feedback. 

In addition to the peer review tool and enhanced writing trait analysis, the next generation Criterion service offers customizable reports that enable teachers and administrators to review district and site performance at any time, highlighting where curriculum adjustments or teacher training is needed.  The next generation of Criterion enhancements will help ensure educators can have the confidence in knowing schools can be well informed to make the necessary changes so that districts have strong writing/reading assessment scores.  

“With higher level writing and reasoning skills being such a priority within the Common Core, Criterion provides teachers and administrators with the tools they need to inform student instruction and assessment,” said Jim Nicholson, President of HMH- Riverside.  “It enables teachers to really focus on areas that need the greatest concern – the e-rater tool saves time with pinpoint scoring accuracy.  We remain committed to providing our customers with the most strategic, comprehensive assessment solutions on the market.”

ETS Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Scott Weaver added, “This new version includes several improvements, requested by our teacher users, which will help them to teach higher level writing skills and improve writing scores with one comprehensive tool.”

To learn more about the Criterion Online Writing Evaluation service, please visit http://www.hmhco.com

ISTE attendees can visit HMH at booth #11099.

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a global learning company with the mission of changing people’s lives by fostering passionate, curious learners. Among the world’s largest providers of pre-K–12 education solutions and one of its longest-established publishing houses, HMH combines cutting-edge research, editorial excellence and technological innovation to improve teaching and learning environments and solve complex literacy and education challenges. HMH’s interactive, results-driven education solutions are utilized by 60 million students in 120 countries, and its renowned and awarded novels, non-fiction, children's books and reference works are enjoyed by readers throughout the world. For more information, visit www.hmhco.com.

About ETS 
At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series™ assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. www.ets.org