Kentucky System First to Use SMARTHINKING Tutors to Suggest Grades

September 26, 2005

SMARTHINKING Launches “Grade Guidance” for K-Core.

Kentucky System First to Use SMARTHINKING tutors to Critique Essays, Suggest Grades

Washington, DC (August 16, 2005) – SMARTHINKING, the leading provider of online tutoring and academic support, announced today that the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) K-Core initiative, a statewide online general education curriculum, will be the first to use SMARTHINKING’s Grade Guidance service for its English Composition course.

Using SMARTHINKING’s Grade Guidance™ service, students submit essay assignments to SMARTHINKING e-structors™—writing professionals trained and employed by SMARTHINKING—for an essay critique and a suggested grade. K-Core faculty have immediate, online access to all suggested grades, submitted papers, and critiqued papers. The suggested grades will inform K-Core faculty’s final assessment of student writing.

Unlike traditional grading processes, students receive suggested grades from SMARTHINKING e-structors within 24 hours. Because human instructors are grading papers (rather than artificial intelligence systems), essay evaluations will be able to address such complex elements of effective writing as essay cohesion, clarity of thought, and essay structure, among others. K-Core faculty can then reference these third party assessments of student papers to guide and streamline their final critique. SMARTHINKING’s Grade Guidance will allow professors to both increase the level of individualized teaching for all enrolled students, while focusing more of their attention on those students who most need instructional support.

“For us, the Grade Guidance service will allow our composition instructors to focus on individual student needs and develop lessons and practices that further increase student success and learning,” says William Wade, the K-CORE English Composition lead faculty member and a professor at West Kentucky Community and Technical College.

“With K-Core, we are able to implement instructional strategies that have been proven to increase student success and achieve teaching efficiencies through providing the appropriate level of interaction for the student, while freeing faculty to concentrate on academic rather than logistical or technical tasks.” says Sandy Cook, KCTCS Chancellor’s Office, Distance Education. “For English composition, SMARTHINKING allows us to extend the course in ways that wouldn’t be possible in traditional course.”

Over 90% of SMARTHINKING’s writing e-structors have a masters degree or PhD in a writing related discipline. All have been screened and trained according to SMARTHINKING’s online training program. This training program is the basis of Preparing Educators for Online Writing Instruction: Principles and Processes, published by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and co-authored by Dr. Christa Ehmann, Vice President of Education at SMARTHINKING.

In addition to Grade Guidance, students may ask questions of trained, qualified writing tutors by “dropping-in” to SMARTHINKING’s interactive whiteboard and working one-on-one with a tutor or by submitting questions for next day response. SMARTHINKING also offers a generalist online writing lab where students can submit papers to be critiqued and returned within 24 hours.

SMARTHINKING, the leading provider of online tutoring to colleges and high schools, provides live, online, easy-access tutoring to students. SMARTHINKING works with schools, colleges, universities, textbook publishers and other institutions to help educators offer students outstanding academic support. SMARTHINKING’s custom solutions improve faculty support and raise student performance by connecting students to qualified assistance anytime, from any Internet connection. SMARTHINKING clients include schools, colleges, libraries, education companies, individuals, and anyone seeking to increase student achievement. SMARTHINKING currently works with over 500 school clients and businesses. To learn more, please visit or call 888.430.7429 ext 224.

About K-Core
The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) K-CORE (Kentucky Collaborative Online General Education CORE) focuses on strategies to design, develop, and implement competency-based, scalable, high-quality, efficient, entry-level curriculum available to all colleges that will provide a vital connection between secondary/adult education and postsecondary education. The total project involves complete development and redesign of 25 high demand general education courses that utilize content delivery technologies, instructional support, effective assessment, and rich, high quality, interactive learning experience that engage learners. The development and testing of K-CORE courses has been partially supported through grants and financial assistance from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. To learn more about KCTCS and the colleges’ distance education programs, visit