Can a digital tool help underserved students become better writers?

Quill is a free, personalized online learning tool that helps middle and high school students build writing, grammar, and proofreading skills. We previously supported a research pilot that implemented Quill’s sentence-combining tool in three Icahn Charter Schools. The findings demonstrated statistically significant increases in writing scores and, although the pilot showed positive gains with limited fidelity, the results would have been even greater with more uniform usage of Quill.

In 2019, we sought to build on these learnings and supported a new cohort of Quill Lab Schools in which Quill can examine their own questions:

  • What are the conditions and circumstances under which Quill is most effective?
  • How much student progress can be made under optimal conditions?
  • How can Quill improve its tools to suit the needs of teachers and students?
  • What does it take to shift the culture of a school to a writing culture?
  • How does a strong culture of writing affect the school as a whole?

Following the 2019–2020 school year, results and feedback from the Quill Lab Schools will offer deep insights into best practices for optimal student outcomes. This grant was co-funded by the Robin Hood Foundation, the Overdeck Family Foundation, and the Siegel Family Endowment to focus on the potential of technology to transform learning in New York City.

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