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Understanding Off-Topic Notifications

 

When Revision Assistant does not recognize an essay as being on topic, the writer will receive an off-topic notification message. This can occur for a variety of reasons. Listed below is some useful background information on why this happens, a few of the more common cases for receiving an off-topic notification message, as well as editorial recommendations for their resolution.

 

 

 

 


 

Understanding What's Happening

 

Generally speaking, there isn't one specific thing a writer did or didn’t do to receive an off-topic notification. Revision Assistant applies off-topic notifications when the submitted essay doesn’t appear similar to any previously accepted essays. Similarly, there isn’t a switch we can flip to make an essay acceptable. However, knowing the text that triggered the off-topic notification can and will help us create and apply better feedback. We work on and try to update these models often.

 

 

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Reviewing Common Issues

 

Sources and Evidence. It seemed for many essays, students described something they “learned for no reason at all” but didn’t necessarily discuss “the advantage they gained from that knowledge." Similarly, if the prompt uses source documents and asks writers to reference the sources, essays neglecting to use source documentation are likely to receive an off-topic message. 

 

Format/Style. Certain prompts request specific formats or styles. Sometimes an off-topic notification will appear if an essay text does not appear to match the correct form. For example, prompts like ‘Ad Me’ or ‘Letter to Your Principal: School Uniforms’ typically require the text to be in letter-like format. Have students revisit their organizational approach and ensure they are setting the context for the reader and prompt.  They can use the language from the prompt to effectively do this.    

 

Narrative prompts. The context of the narrative responses needs to be properly set in the introduction.  Revision Assistant is looking for the students to introduce the topic (writing task) in the beginning portion of their essays.  If they don't, it is harder for the system to tell if the essay is on-topic. As with any good writing, the context of the narrative needs to be properly set in the introduction.  Revision Assistant is looking for the students to introduce the topic (writing task) in the beginning portion of their essays.  If they don't, it is harder for the system to tell if the essay is on-topic

 

Prewriting. Off-topic notifications can sometimes activate by requesting a signal check on pre-writing content only. Encourage students to move from an outline of details to a narrative form - with more than one sentence each for the exposition, supporting details, and conclusion (and remove the "Prewriting Box Labels").  See the Assignment Overview page (from the teacher’s perspective) to see the suggested word length for each prompt.

 

 

Submitting a Ticket

 

All off-topic essay inquiries and subsequent prompt and essay text information can be sent to support@revisionassistant.com, or you can select the Submit a Ticket button at the bottom of this page. Here's what to include when you submit your support ticket:

  • Let us know what prompt the writer was working on
  • Provide the essay text receiving the off-topic notification to help us improve and update Revision Assistant feedback

 

 

 

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