Language Arts

Criterion Writing Service

Kraemer Middle School Language Arts teachers use the online Criterion writing program for holistic scoring and instant student feedback in five diagnostic categories. As a part of our program to improve student writing, we have chosen to provide access to a new tool for writing instruction. The Criterion® Online Writing Evaluation Service, a web-based service developed by Educational Testing Service that evaluates a student’s essays, provides instant score reporting and diagnostic feedback to both the instructor and student, and guides the process of planning, organizing and revising which is essential to good writing.

The Criterion service utilizes automated scoring technologies to provide students with instant score and writing analysis feedback on writing samples they submit. The Criterion user interface enables quick access to numerous features which are described below.

Students can access their own password-protected website, plan, and submit essays on topics assigned by their instructor. They will then immediately receive an overall score on the assignment, as well as extensive online diagnostic feedback to analyze traits of Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Style, and Organization & Development. Errors and comments from these categories are identified within the essay itself, and targeted feedback is offered for each identified error which helps students focus on their errors as they revise their essays.

A work-in-progress revision capability allows students to make revisions on a split screen as they review each feedback category. They can ask their instructors for advice about an error, or comment by writing questions and messages for each assignment on a private message board. Instructors can also insert their own comments about the essay both as pop-up notes within the text and as more general comments on the private message board.

Students are also provided with online access to a comprehensive Writer’s Handbook selected by the teacher for the individual student’s needs, with reference materials on how to improve their writing. The feedback is designed so that the student can utilize it to revise and improve the initial draft of an essay as many times as the teacher allows. All of the student’s essays, scores, annotated feedback, and instructor comments are saved to a secure virtual portfolio that both the instructor and student can access as needed. You will be happy to know that since the Criterion service is web-based and available from any computer, you can ask your student to share his or her Criterion work with you by sharing the unique student username and password. 

ELL - English Language Learners

Kraemer Middle School follows the PYLUSD’s vision and mission for the English Language Learner Program.  In a systematic, coherent language development program, students are equipped with the skills that a native English speaker has. By following the district’s principles in English language acquisition, it is our goal to move students to reclassification in three years.

 Students are placed in classes based on their CELDT level. These levels are broken down into 5 areas: level 1-Beginners, level 2- Early Intermediates, level 3-Intermediates, level 4 Early Advanced, and level 5-Advanced. Teachers provide direct explicit instruction for each of these levels in grammar/writing, and reading. Our Level 1 students also take a conversation class to help in critical listening and speaking the English language.

More information is available at