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Writing Roadmap Overview

Writing Roadmap™ is an online writing tool that provides an effective way for students to practice and improve their writing and for teachers to measure and track writing proficiency for students in Grades 3–12.

Subject Areas and Grades

  • Writing (Grades 3–12 and
    adult education)

Assessment Type

  • Writing prompts  and reading passages in
    any of seven styles: narrative, informative/expository,
    descriptive, persuasive, opinion, argumentative, and informative/explanatory.

Delivery Format

  • Online


  • Provides an environment for students to practice writing
  • Gives teachers the ability to assign more essays
  • Helps prepare students for state and national writing assessments
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Writing Roadmap utilizes validated and practice items that contain short prompts as well as reading passages for students to write about. Teachers can select writing assignments across seven genres from CTB's assignment library or they can create and use their own assignments.

Scoring engine that is calibrated to provide grade specific scores
Writing Roadmap employs CTB's patented Mosaic™ automated essay-scoring (AES) high-stakes technology to drive a newly developed generic scoring engine that is calibrated to provide grade specific scores. Reporting is immediate, provides guidelines for improving writing to students and provides insights to educators on their students' writing proficiency to inform instruction. Scoring by Writing Roadmap matches human scoring.

Helps prepare students for state and national writing tests
Writing Roadmap uses rubrics and measures the traits that are most commonly used within state and national standards. Its tools help prepare students for state writing assessments as well as the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™, SAT®, and ACT®.

In addition, Writing Roadmap complements CTB's other assessment solutions, including TerraNova, Third Edition, TABE, LAS Links, and Acuity.

Major score increases on state tests with Writing Roadmap
A study, "Online Writing Assessment in West Virginia" found consistent and statistically significant positive mean score differences on the state summative writing tests for students who practiced using Writing Roadmap software.

Writing Roadmap Overview Graphic

Writing Roadmap provides immediate feedback for five writing traits: Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Style and Organization, and Development. Educators can assign prompts or reading passages from the included library. Topic types, or genres, include persuasive, informative, expository, narrative, and argumentative.

Online instructional tools include tips to improve essays, and grammar-tree sentence diagrams that identify basic grammatical components. Writing Roadmap also provides spell checking and a thesaurus.

The prompts used for Writing Roadmap were developed by CTB's professional content staff—composed largely of classroom teachers with experience in English and composition. The prompts are reviewed by expert hand scorers who have read and evaluated hundreds of student essays, on paper and online, to determine which prompt versions elicit the best overall student interest and response.

Practice prompts are also available.

Writing Roadmap offers teachers the ability to assign students targeted practice prompts. Here's how it works:

  • The teacher assigns a writing prompt—or creates a new prompt—in any of seven styles: narrative, informative/expository, descriptive, persuasive, opinion, argumentative, and informative/explanatory. Writing Roadmap's scoring technology assigns a holistic score on a 4, 5 or 6-point scale, which is selected by the teacher, for any essay at the desired grade level.
  • Students write essays online and then submit, revise, and resubmit essays based on the feedback they receive from the system or from personalized feedback provided by their teachers.
  • Writing Roadmap contains online tools called Hint, Grammar Tree, Spelling, and Thesaurus to help students write better essays and provides immediate scores and feedback to help students improve their revisions.
  • Teachers can take the analysis provided in easy-to-read reports, add their own comments, and provide customized feedback on student drafts and final essays.
  • Finished essays are immediately scored and provide instant feedback on five writing traits:

    1. Grammar
    2. Usage
    3. Mechanics
    4. Style and Organization
    5. Development

Writing Roadmap provides reports at several levels: individual student writing proficiency reports, classroom reports, school roster reports, district reports, and aggregated state reports. These comprehensive reports help determine how students are improving their writing proficiency and offer accurate, reliable, and diagnostic information for evaluating student performance on writing assignments and tracking growth.

Writing Roadmap includes a comprehensive package of reports:

Proficiency by Test: Pie chart of student proficiency for each of the 5 measured writing traits

Proficiency Summary: Summary for proficiency across tests

Proficiency by Standard: Displays student proficiency by writing trait

Standard Summary Report: Provides summary for proficiency across tests

Writing Gain Report: Shows student improvement in writing proficiency

Student Narrative Report: Provides students with feedback on their writing skills for each trait

Group Reports: Provides a variety of proficiency reports at the student group level

Explore sample reports by choosing your audience from the pull-down menu below.

According to the National Center for Education Studies and the National Assessment Governing Board, writing is an essential skill in order for students to understand, organize, and communicate their ideas. Furthermore, in order for students to become good writers, they need frequent practice and feedback.

Innovative instructional tools in Writing Roadmap provide students with continuous support throughout the writing process, so they can immediately improve their writing and teachers spend less time grading and more time teaching.

Here's a sample instructional activity available to students:

Writing Roadmap uses a combination of Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automate the analysis of language.

Writing Roadmap uses an AI engine and rubrics to measure traits that are most accepted within state and national standards. Teachers can choose to receive feedback on a 4, 5, or 6-point scale. Writing Roadmap is the only online writing assessment that can grade essay scores to a tenth of a point.

Holistic Score

Writing Roadmap's scoring technology assigns a holistic score on a 4, 5 or 6-point scale (user selectable) for any essay at the desired grade level. On a custom basis, the scoring technology used in Writing Roadmap can also use prompt-specific models to score essays for high-stakes applications.

Analytic Scores

Scoring is also available relative to five analytic writing traits to help educators determine student strengths and areas for improvement:

  • Organization
  • Development
  • Sentence Structure
  • Word Choice and Grammar
  • Mechanics

In the sample screen below, you can see student scores across the various areas of measurement, along with feedback for the student.

Online Delivery

  • Writing Roadmap is a secure Web-based solution that provides secure delivery with lockdown browser capabilities
  • A proven user-friendly interface offers easy navigation and an engaging online experience. Teachers can review essays and provide comments online
  • Writing Roadmap's innovative online interface gives students and teachers instant feedback on writing assignments, including unlimited writing prompts, automatic scoring, instructional guidance, and robust reporting. Using rubrics aligned with national and most state-accepted standards, scoring is done automatically and accurately, saving as much as 100 hours of teacher time per year. (One teacher x 30 students x 5 graded writing exercises per quarter x 10 minutes per paper = 100 hours of teacher time saved per year)
  • Writing Roadmap includes enough capacity to handle 15,000 essays each hour, depending on your school or district Internet access and bandwidth
  • Any upgrades are delivered seamlessly and automatically


New Features of Writing Roadmap:


  • Over twice as many engaging prompts as the previous version of Writing Roadmap
  • The Writing Roadmap library contains 110 validated and practice prompts, including new prompts with reading passages
  • More than enough prompts at each grade level to support writing instruction and evaluation
  • Library contains prompts that are validated and research based
  • Validated prompts achieve 62-percent exact and 98-percent exact or adjacent agreement between humans
  • The validated prompts, calibrated in 2011, provide a valid and reliable measure of student writing proficiency


User Interface

  • Improved response times
  • Tabbed-based user interface with menu options driven by user rights and few click to functions
  • Support for Google Chrome™, Safari®, Opera™, Internet Explorer™ and Firefox™ Browsers
  • Copy and paste documents from Microsoft Word®
  • Integration with your student information systems to automate student rosters
  • Manage roster changes locally



  • New generic scoring engine that produces holistic scores
  • Updated scoring technology based on a CTB-patented Mosaic™ automated essay-scoring (AES) high-stakes technology
  • Generic engine can score all CTB and teacher created prompts at the desired grade level
  • Reporting includes narrative feedback to help students improve their writing and a growth report to track student progress over time


Item Types

  • Writing Roadmap 3.0 introduces practice reading passages
  • Reading passages provide a link to the Common Core objectives
  • Students are challenged to read and understand a topic that they are asked to write about
  • The resulting essays tend to be more deeply thought out


Additional features of Writing Roadmap include:

On-Demand Instructional Tools

Teachers have the option to turn on/off the following instructional tools for their students: Hint, Tutor, Thesaurus, and Grammar Tree.

Structured Writing Interface

Teachers can customize the writing interface by enabling students to respond either in a single response section, or a structured writing interface organized by section headers (i.e., Title, Introduction, Body, and Conclusion) with corresponding sections hints.

Writing Styles

Teachers can assign writing prompts—or create new prompts—in any of four styles: Narrative, Informative / Expository, Descriptive, and Persuasive.

Holistic and Analytic Scores

Completed essays are immediately provided a holistic score, as well as analytic scores on the following traits: Ideas and Content, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Conventions, and Fluency.

Teacher-Created Prompts

In addition to the extensive library of prompts available in Writing Roadmap 3.0, teachers can create their own original topics at any chosen grade level in any of the four writing styles available in the program. Writing Roadmap 3.0 provides an Essay Creation Wizard, which walks teachers through the steps of topic construction to ensure that these prompts follow guidelines that will result in effective feedback and scoring.

Teacher Review Features

Review features are available to allow teachers to review, re-score (as appropriate), and/or re-assign essays to students with their comments. Automatic flags are available for certain essays that might benefit from teacher review.

Comprehensive Reports

A host of reporting tools are available at the student, group, school, and district level that provide valuable information on student performance. Teachers can monitor how individual classes and students are performing and progressing. Administrators can evaluate writing programs and curricular needs, demonstrate and report on program effectiveness, and compare student achievement across schools and districts.

Enhanced Accessibility Mode

Features designed to improve accessibility for the visually impaired include text-to-speech reader capability, high contrast screen, ability to zoom (up to 4x), and the ability to navigate with keyboard only.


For mid- or high-stakes assessments, a Secure Student Browser option is available in both Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer, which "locks" students in a kiosk-mode and disables commonly-used keystroke commands.


With any Writing Roadmap subscription, schools and teachers have access to a variety of online assistance, technical, and product support. A toll-free technical support line will also be made available for subscribers.


One of the most affordable online writing assessments on the market. Grants and other funding opportunities may be available for Writing Roadmap customers. Visit for more information.


As an affordable online essay-writing mentor and scoring tool that provides students and teachers with rapid feedback on writing assignments, Writing Roadmap fits perfectly into a multi-tiered Response to Intervention (RtI) program. In RtI Tier I, Writing Roadmap can be used for universal screening to determine student proficiency levels relative to state standards.

Comprehensive report data allows for analysis at the whole- and small-group, and individual levels to assist teachers and administrators to target instructional interventions at every level.

Writing Roadmap helps determine whether interventions are working and whether students are making progress. It also helps identify students who are struggling with essay writing and who may not be making acceptable progress in core writing competencies—in time to make a difference.

Important Components of an Effective RtI Model

How Writing Roadmap Aligns:

Universal Screening

  • Integrates seamlessly with existing classroom instruction
  • Allows for administration within a single class period
  • Helps determine the effectiveness of existing instructional programs and guides decision making at multiple levels
  • Determines students' level of proficiency relative to state standards in core areas
  • Delivers data that allow for analysis at the whole- and small-group, and individual student performance levels
  • Identifies students who are not making acceptable progress in the core areas, outlining areas for additional intervention


Multi-Tiered Interventions

  • Supports a range of approaches to intervention, from general screening to highly individualized, delivered in a multi-tiered format
  • Provides resources to support differentiated, high-quality instruction, providing opportunities for intervention for all learners, at all levels
  • Delivers interventions at the whole group, to small group, to individualized level, based on student needs
  • Supports data-based decision-making to help outline the level of intervention needed, and requirements of the intervention


Progress Monitoring

  • Delivers formative, diagnostic evaluations
  • Measures specific skills and objectives
  • Produces helpful results with graphic displays of results related to specific learning goals
  • Provides a data–driven, systematic approach to improving instructional decision making and improving student performance


Fidelity of Implementation

  • Delivers helpful reports that allow educators to closely monitor the effectiveness of instructional interventions
  • Allows for ongoing progress monitoring with reports that align to classroom instruction
  • Helps educators at all levels know which interventions and progress monitoring efforts have worked and which students can continue in mainstream educational programs



Writing Roadmap Resources

  • Videos

Next Steps

Contact us
(5.66 MB)
Writing Roadmap & Academic English Language

Related Research Topics

Online Assessment

Formative and Benchmark Assessment

English Language Learners

Applicable Grants

ESEA: Title I, School Improvement Grants

ESEA: Title VI


An affordable online and essay-writing mentor and scoring tool for Grades 3–12 and Adult Education.

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Writing Roadmap is an all-in-one formative tool to assess and improve student writing throughout the school year.

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Writing Roadmap helps teachers and administrators mine extensive reporting of student, teacher, and group progress.

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Writing Roadmap makes it easy for teachers to setup classes, construct writing assessments, create assignments, and provide feedback to students.

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Writing Roadmap provides an engaging environment that makes writing essays an enjoyable experience.

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