September 28, 2017
The Voqal Education Program is happy to announce a new partnership with Quill, a Brooklyn-based, innovative nonprofit that provides free online tools to help low-income students become sharp writers and critical thinkers, primarily in a school setting. Voqal is providing Quill with a $35,000 one-year grant through the Education Venture Fund to help the organization market their writing tools and support research into the efficacy of their platform.
There are about 30 million low-income K-12 students in the United States who struggle with basic writing, one of the most important skills people need to improve reading comprehension and advance critical thinking, a major part of the opportunity gap puzzle Voqal is seeking to reduce. Not only does poor writing ability contribute to school-based opportunity gaps as opened-ended answers become increasingly more prevalent in high-stakes testing, but the ability to express ideas in writing is increasingly important throughout the emerging jobs landscape.
Quill’s tools enable teachers to implement research-based, expository writing instruction in their classrooms and is the first organization to build an online tool which provides instant feedback on sentence combining exercises. To provide this feedback, the Quill team maps out hundreds of potential answers for each item through a combination of human judgment and machine algorithms. By mapping out these responses, Quill can automatically provide immediate feedback on dozens of strong answers and thousands of potential errors in the areas of logic, grammar, spelling and punctuation.
By providing a free, web-based tool, Quill can provide millions of students with the ability to express, with clarity and precision, complicated thoughts in writing. This tailored experience enables students to learn faster and saves teachers hundreds of hours spent on grading at virtually no per-unit cost for each additional student served. The Quill team has the audacious goal of one million students writing over 100 million sentences during the 2017-2018 school year. Quill specifically focuses on the writing needs of low-income students and with 63% of the students they have served attending low-income schools, Quill expects to impact 600,000 low-income students. Voqal is excited to support its efforts and report on its success helping more kids become better writers.
Check out this recent Fast Company article for more details on Quill.