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What is a Signal Check?

Revision Assistant gives students formative feedback on their writing based on a Common Core-aligned rubric. We call this feedback a “Signal Check.” Revision Assistant identifies strengths and weaknesses in students’ writing and provides guidance on how to improve based on the students’ work. Students can request Signal Checks as often as they like.

Requesting a Signal Check

To get Revision Assistant’s feedback, a student must be in an active assignment sent to them by a teacher. The student clicks the “Signal Check” button at the bottom of the composition space. Revision Assistant will provide both holistic and targeted feedback on the student’s work each time a Signal Check request is made.  A Signal Check has three parts: a rating that looks like a wi-fi signal, highlighted text, and comments along the side of the essay.











Understanding Signal Check Ratings

The wi-fi–like rating appears above of each draft of the essay. There will be one of these symbols for each rubric dimension, which also corresponds with a symbol and color. Each filled-in bar in the wi-fi signal shows how strong a student’s essay is in this dimension. Clicking on a specific symbol highlights the dimension as well as provides the first-level signal check question. 


  1. To get more information on the dimension, students can click "How can I improve?" for a second-level signal check question. 






  1. You can collapse the second-level signal check by clicking "Show Less". 












  1. You can have multiple signal checks open at the same time. You can close any of them by clicking the "X" to the side of the questions.










Understanding Signal Check Highlighting

In addition to providing an overall rating, Revision Assistant highlights sentences that are particularly strong or particularly weak for each rubric dimension. This highlighting is color coded to the wi-fi signal. For instance, if the Language Awareness wi-fi signal and icon are pink, highlighted text related to that dimension will also be pink. That dimension’s icon will appear in the right margin. Highlighted text provides a focal point for students to begin their revision process.




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Understanding Signal Check Comments



When the student clicks on the icon, a comment that specifically applies to the highlighted sentence will appear in the margin. Sometimes the feedback will point out a weakness, symbolized by a red flag icon. Revision Assistant will also point out a draft’s strengths and prompt the student to think of how to apply the same strategy elsewhere. These comments are preceded by a green check mark.


Inside each comment, students have the opportunity to tell the Revision Assistant team how helpful the information was by answering “yes” or “no” to the question, “Was this helpful?”


After a student reviews a comment, he or she can clear the highlighting and comment by checking “I’ve taken care of this” in the comment.  Luckily, students can still access later.  Revision Assistant saves every draft and every Signal Check. To see feedback on an earlier draft a student need only scroll up on the screen or use the timeline of drafts located in the menu.

Receiving Special Kinds of Feedback

There are certain things Revision Assistant cannot evaluate. If a student requests a Signal Check and receives a pop up message, it just means that the student needs to keep working on the essay before Revision Assistant can give feedback. There are a few situations where this might happen.

  1. The essay is too short. Revision Assistant wants to help, but it needs to have at least a few sentences of the student’s thoughts before it can provide useful feedback. It’s better not to ask for a Signal Check until writing several sentences or a full paragraph.

  2. The essay is off topic. Revision Assistant can only help students when they have written something relevant to the essay prompt.

  3. The essay looks a lot like the assignment. Sometimes students use too many quotes from the readings or too much of the prompt in an answer. Revision Assistant will ask students in these situations to rephrase ideas in their own words before providing feedback.

Viewing Signal Checks

As a teacher, you have access to all of your students’ signal checks and drafts. You can access student work from your homepage by clicking on the assignment or the class name. For more information about viewing student work, check out Viewing Submissions.

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Last modified
22:01, 4 Jan 2016


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