December 2020 Newsletter

I remember saying in late 2019 that 2020 will be a special year. It was the turn of decade, a good time to reset goals and plans. Little did I know that 2020 would be this special. Wow, what a turbulent time it has been for everyone! Nevertheless, we have been busy enhancing Scribo to give teachers and students more choices, more access and more features to help improve writing skills.  Feedback has come from all corners of the world, resulting in many tweaks and some major advancements. We have made a lot of improvements and built exciting new pieces, as I will explain below.

Improving writing skills remains one of the biggest challenges facing schools, students and our future. Our passion is to help teachers to help students improve writing skills by giving everyone more time, feedback and data – the three core elements needed to drive improvement.

What's new and improved in Scribo 2020

Scribo Pronto




  1. promptly; quickly.
    “Give that text some feedback, pronto”,
  2. “Throw this red pen away, pronto!” 

Pronto gives every teacher and student a super fast way to use Scribo’s AI feedback and grading features, without needing an account or setting up student accounts and activities. Load Pronto and open a document – simple!

Pronto builds momentum and your environment from student texts as you both work in Google Docs / Classroom or Office / Teams inside existing workflows. If a student has shared a document with you, you are able to share feedback grades and data. Pronto even shows the National Norms for your country and Year level for all ratings, just for fun.

One click is all it takes to activate Pronto on top of any document you open, even your own documents.

Pronto creates a personal Scribo AI classroom for each teacher with automatic feedback, rubric grading and text analysis all ready to go. Analytics are available for every teacher for each of their classes.

Pronto is 

  • an  Add-in for Word and a Chrome extension for Google Docs
  • designed to install and get your first document checked in seconds
  • available in Premium and Community editions
  • able to do complete rubric grading
  • free for students to use 

Check it out! You can download it from the app stores .

Google Docs and Word Add-ins open Scribo everywhere

Scribo works where you do,  everywhere, across Google and Office platforms.  Teachers can run all of Scribo on a daily basis without leaving Word, Teams, Google Docs or Classroom.

It’s only one click to open Scribo from within any platform. Google Classroom has been very closely integrated, as has Microsoft Teams .

You can now sync classes and students both ways between Teams and Scribo, as you can in Google Classroom and Scribo. It’s so simple to manage and get going.

Fun Fact – you can run Pronto and Scribo together!

Download Scribo Add-ins from either Google and Microsoft Store Add-in store.

Rubric Grading – as simple or as powerful as you like

"Is a rubric a writing improvement guidebook or a just simple grading calculator? I would think the former, who wouldn't?"


We have made great advances in rubric marking, making it quick and easy to use rubrics as a feedback tool rather than simply a marking destination.

  • Create rubrics in Pronto and Scribo quickly 
  • Track and grade multiple revisions of rubrics. Draft texts, second drafts, final texts can all be rubric marked to track progress and drive feedback
  • Students can peer review using rubrics
  • Rubric analytics are sensational – tracking where everyone is in the continuum of the rubric
  • Teachers can co-grade texts – each one as a grading revision

Peer Review – it's simple and powerful

“We know what we are but know not what we may be”


Making the writing process more collaborative through peer review gives students opportunities to learn from one another and to think carefully about the role of writing in the course at hand.

Teachers can start and stop Peer Review for an activity in a class quickly and with full control over options. Peer Review is activated from Live Monitoring options for the Activity, per class.

Features are simple to manage with great flexibility.

  • Allows automatic (random) pairing of students or manual selected pairing
  • Remembers manual pairs for next time
  • Peer Reviews can be anonymous or not
  • Peer Review can be done at any time up to final text, or just on final hand in copy
  • Students can grade using rubrics
  • Teacher sets peer review questions
  • Tracking peer review completions

Grade Writing with clever AI

"To improve writing, students need more practice. That means they need more feedback. More feedback means I need more time. I don't have more time! "


We have been working hard at building and tuning our fully AI auto grading engine. Across thousands of essays and teacher grades we have built AI models that auto grade student text responses against essay prompts.

I can hear all the pro and cons as I write this – and yes, everyone is right. We have to remember that AI is not a ‘teacher replacement’ strategy, but rather a friendly skills augmentation opportunity to help teachers. AI processing is such an exciting space that we are making our AI models available. We are now scoring within 1 mark of humans which is very accurate across four trained AI models.

There are four Very important concepts that drive AI text grading – Validity, Volume, Variety and Velocity.

  • AI needs Valid and consistent data. Texts that are scored consistently against a structured rubric, is where the AI process begins.
  • AI needs Volumes of examples to set a neural model in place. More data helps build more accuracy when it comes to training AI.
  • AI needs a Variety of texts. If AI does not know what a good or bad text looks like, it scores in the centre. Examples of all levels of texts are needed and that’s why it takes a while to train and tune AI.
  • Velocity – AI models need to have consistent data incorporated at a regular velocity. AI models that are not continually updated, become outdated. Our AI sits inside Scribo so If you can help train, you can be part of our extended neural network.

The fun fact about AI is that human data is used to train AI. This is one reason why variability creeps into the neural calculations made by machines. If the input data is inconsistent, guess what happens next? 

There is definitely a new space emerging for AI grading support. AI can support all teachers to save time giving students consistent feedback, even when teachers don’t have all the marking skills they would like.

Our AI auto-grading capability is available in our Writing Skills Assessment test – a low stakes, easy to deploy summative assessment.

If you want to get a fix on where writing skills need more help, get students writing and have the results in minutes, the Writing Skills Assessment test is a great option.

All results are supported by comprehensive dashboards and rubric reporting.

If you would like to know more about how we technically approach AI in grading, drop Mark an email. Be careful, once you get him started….  ( 

We have built white papers and research around our approach that shows how the older algorithmic grading engines are being replaced by neural grading capabilities that do a better job. It’s a big space but so worthwhile to be part of. My message – stop counting writing attributes and get in touch with what is good writing. Check out the Literatu 2021 Top Shelf section.

Draft Activity management

“Your first draft is not a gold nugget. It might be a nugget, but it's not golden.”


You can now create and save Activities as Draft without having to assign them to classes as you build them.

Any Activity you create can be saved into the Library that now caters for All Activities, Your Activities, Draft and Library Activities.

You can Assign, Edit and Share Activities from the new Activity Library.

It’s Christmas, and we thought sharing more is a good thing.

Revision Control helps track progress and feedback

"Half my life is an act of revision."


Scribo now supports revisions of student work, even if they are working in Word or Google Docs. 

Revisions are recorded every time a writing check is made by a student. We simply snap the document and then show the differences to both teachers and students. Scribo also tracks feedback per revision.

How you can use Revisions –


  • See how many revisions students have made to get to where they are now
  • See if feedback you give is being implemented by students. Scribo now tracks feedback by document revision
  • Discuss revision progress with students
  • Skip to any revision you like to see where writing began and how it has progressed.


  • Keep track of all changes in one place
  • Revert to prior versions quickly and easily
  • See feedback aligned to a revision

Scriblet for younger writers

"Learning to write at your own pace, with feedback just for you, is so much more encouraging than being told you are wrong all the time."


Our favourite writing support engine has made a big hit in primary schools. Even secondary students like using Scriblet to help them improve their writing.

Scriblet brings joy to writing for all writers, removing the daunting blank page challenge by adding an interactive writing buddy. Scriblet has 4 Avatar characters that bring interactivity into the writing space, giving great  improvement and correction advice to students, bit by bit. 

There is nothing more discouraging than seeing a whole page of red underline corrections as students write. GPS (Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling) error highlights actually reduce the motivation of many students to keep writing.

Scriblet works on demand, taking students on a simple and collaborative writing improvement journey. Scriblet starts with Spelling, then Grammar and then paragraph by paragraph suggests how to improve elements of the text. Nothing gets too complicated and students love the interaction. The whole idea of Scriblet is to give students more ownership in their writing.

Teachers say that getting students writing without fear of making mistakes is the first step. Helping them work through their text with personalised support is the second important step and giving teachers visibility into student writing levels is the best part. Scriblet achieves all three.

Think of Scriblet as ‘Scribo Little’ – a great way to encourage and engage writers in an avatar-supported writing space. Scriblet is making a splash in International markets helping ESL students become confident English writers.

Singapore’s MCE releases their new Writing Buddy using the Scribo-Scriblet platform

Marshall Cavendish Education is the largest K–12 publisher in Asia. Scriblet fits in as the new Writing Buddy application, accessible to over 100,000 primary teachers to support writing growth across a range of countries. 

MCE has created over 175 scaffolded writing resources in Scribo for teachers and students across years 2–8, complete with examples, writing plans, scaffolds and exemplars. It’s an awesome resource bank that we want to bring to Australia in 2021 for our schools and teachers here.

It’s all connected up to live monitoring and teachers feedback as well. Believe us when we say the whole world is learning to write better English. Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia have all set challenging education agendas to get students equipped for a post-Covid world. 

Of course these countries don’t all have the number of senior English teachers they need – that’s where Scribo and MCE fit right in. These countries see English as being a key to their country’s economic development and future.

Training materials

"The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery."


Training courses for Scribo are all phone compatible. We sent out a range of accounts for you all to use, maybe they hit the spam folder. 

If you would like access to the library of online courses, send us an email and we will get you registered.

We have never seen a teacher without a phone at the ready 🙂 . . . the courses can be accessed via PC as well. 

Full Scribo Information


There are three sites online where you can get everything you need to know about Scribo.

These are sensational resources and the search feature is really good.

Introduction to Scribo

The Scribo Way – Full Manual :

Writing Skills Assessment Manual :


More Grammar Feedback

"When you wish to instruct, be brief. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind."

We have made big inroads into feedback – the language we use in feedback and the type of feedback we give.

Feedback is split into Primary, Secondary and Tertiary levels where the level of feedback and guidance is aligned to the age level of the students.

Remember that ALL feedback is created as personal feedback for each student. AI creates feedback based on how students are writing, so if it sees a pattern, AI will chime in with some advice relevant to the student’s writing.

Other feedback updates include –

Simplified Writing Clarity check under Grammar and Spelling – aims to smooth out writing and the overuse of words.

We have rebuilt new interfaces in sentence, vocabulary and readability sections to match the latest interfaces in Pronto.

We are about to complete the ability to change feedback into simpler language and advice for students.

This will also be available to schools. It is often a fine balance to get the right level of student feedback without being too technical.

Scribo Analytics

“If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.”

Jim Barksdale, former Netscape CEO Tweet

“No-one has ever built meaningful data for teachers from the many thousands of words of text we read - ever - until Scribo came along . I now have critical data, as students write.”


Every teacher can now see and explore data for writing. Scribo has built a data schema underneath student writing which collects over 120 data elements every time a writing check is run.

If a student starts at version 1 and ends at version 10, Scribo collects 10 x 120 writing check elements to highlight growth between revisions. This same logic applies across a class, year and cohort.

The dashboards in Scribo provide live windows into student writing skills, surfacing the data stories of writing development. The more value teachers add to the text, such as feedback and rubric grades, the more data is collected and the richer the data story becomes.

All data is available for analysis showing growth over time by elements.
Schools can look into data by Year, Class, Teacher, Student and schools in larger groupings like Diocese can see across all schools as a cluster.

Writing Plans and Scaffolds

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.”


Writing plans are important and form part of learning to write well. The use of effective strategies to plan ideas for writing will allow students to explore different ideas and sequence their writing. You wouldn’t want to forget talking up that dragon in the garden!

Scribo now supports multiple writing plan types that can be linked to a writing activity. Simply attach the right one and students have a live writing plan that sits alongside their writing.

Students’ planning ideas can be seen by teachers. 

PEAL, TEAL, SEAL and many more are all supported. We can create any plan you like. From January 2021 you can create them yourself.

Differentiate support with scaffolds

Scaffolds are checklists that teachers can attach to each Activity. They are different from writing plans, as they give students a checklist to calibrate against.

Scaffolds can be used to differentiate the learning for different groups of students .

For example, if you have some ESL students, your scaffold for them might contain sample paragraphs and words to use. More advanced writers could be given a series of challenge words to be used. 

All plans and scaffolds are built in Libraries that can be shared by teachers across the school and linked to any activity

IELTS Writing support for International English Learners

"Finally there is a way for me to check my writing in 4 seconds, with awesome feedback and guidance, without waiting a week, paying $40USD and being disappointed with the advice. Scribo ROCKS!"

Abdul Mohammed, IELTS Student Tweet


Did you know that at any one time in the world, there are over 1.12 billion people trying to learn English? 

The English ‘passport’ for students in many countries is getting an IELTS score (International English Language Test System). Without the IELTS certification, they cannot get a student visa for other countries where a level of English is required to study.

Writing is the hardest skill for students to master, and that’s where Scribo comes in. For example, if you get an IELTS band 5.5 or above, you can start travelling abroad for jobs and education. Depending on what you want to do and where you go, you may need a 6.5 or 7.0 minimum score. The IELTS course has 4 topics – Listening , Reading, Language and Writing . On average, Writing takes 4–5 attempts for students to pass.

British Council uses Scribo in their online concierge coaching clinics, where students practice their writing in Scribo then get immediate feedback and a score indication of how they are going. This automatic process has cut 7 days of turnaround time for teachers to manually give feedback and grades, down to being automatic and instant. It’s quite an incredible proposition for students to get feedback as they practice, targeted to the IELTS rubric requirements.

From 7 countries in the MENA and SSA regions at present, thousands of students come to Scribo for practice, instant feedback and an instant indicative score.

We have even written books about how to best answer IELTS Essay questions and reports. If you would like them, let us know. 

The Scribo engine used in IELTS is the same one used in Scribo and Scriblet. This just shows that AI can adapt to its surroundings, save time for many people, enhance feedback and build data to improve and target programmes for improvement.

2021 Scribo Q is underway, and it's good!

“Be stubborn on vision but flexible on details.” –

Most educators have heard of AI , not many have actually seen it action working for them. We believe AI has to actually help teachers to be of any use at all!

We are building massive momentum with AI, hot on the heels of our auto-grading. With our new developments in train teachers will enjoy massive time savings, be able to mobilise any authentic resources they like and be Q&A creation gurus , all without more work. Do we need more static publisher content ? or do we need to be more authentic with live content as it happens?

Imagine this scenario and how Scribo Q can work for you.

  • A teacher finds / has a text, article or any other reference materials in digital format. The teachers passes this text to Scribo AI for analysis.
  • Scribo AI consumes the text and asks the teacher few simple questions.
    • Would you like to create some short answer questions on the text?
    • Would you like some Multi Choice questions created from the text?
    • Would you like to create a writing Activity from the text with a range of possible topic questions?
  • Scribo would of course do as you ask. You could have:
    • an Activity with MCQ questions and distractors all built
    • a series of short answer questions from the text that you can choose to assign or
    • a series of writing Activities created that you can assign across the class.
    • all the answers created for you.

Whatever you choose, Scribo will auto grade the text on two fronts:

  1.  Of course Scribo will offer writing feedback to students, that’s’ what we do
  2.  Scribo will auto grade all answers based on the accuracy of the student’s response including a writing analysis. Because Scribo AI created the question, Scribo AI has the answer. We would have something to say about the quality of the writing as well.

Imagine Scribo helping you create and auto- grade short answer questions? 

Get ready for 2021 ! We have some really special features in development right now!