We have awarded the $3,000 Challenge Prize to Dan Pier, a teacher at St. John’s College High School in Washington, DC. Read the announcement.

​The Learning Agency Lab is a non-profit that pushes the edge of learning science to improve programs and learning tools for the social good. We’re increasingly interested in how computers and well-written algorithms can help teachers give students more feedback on their work, especially in writing. But, right now, the technology isn’t where it needs to be, and the best writing apps are too expensive for most teachers and school districts. We want to help developers create better, more affordable learning tools, and we believe that teachers should have a prominent voice in that process.


Many students graduate high school without being confident, skilled writers. Less than a third of high school seniors are proficient writers, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). 

Assisted writing feedback software can help. Mixing artificial intelligence and natural language processors, these tools evaluate student writing and provide feedback and suggestions on how their writing could be improved. More than a dozen companies now provide assisted writing feedback software to teachers, students, and everyday professionals. Among them: Revision AssistantMI Write, and Criterion. See a longer list of these tools here

A growing body of research shows that assisted writing feedback tools do make students better writers, and they provide teachers with much-needed support when it comes to giving students more feedback on their writing. But there is room for improvement. 

We want to help developers create better, more affordable writing tools because we believe assisted writing feedback systems could help change the game for students.


The Learning Agency Lab is leading an effort to create better writing apps and tools. We call it The Write Tools Challenge, and we launched it to hear from U.S. educators teaching grades 6-12. We want to know what your ideal writing tool would look like. Specifically, if you could design your dream tool, what would it include? What kinds of feedback would it give?

Why are we doing this? We believe assisted writing feedback systems could help change the game for students. We want to help developers create better, more affordable writing tools, and the first step is learning more about what teachers want these tools to do. Join the Challenge by submitting your ideas and answers to the following questions:

  • How would the tool best augment and enhance teacher instruction? Consider what features or information would be available to teachers or how the tools could be customized by teachers.
  • What features would this tool have to support students of all levels, especially those who struggle the most with writing? 
  • How would this tool help to create an inclusive classroom and writing environment for students of different races and socioeconomic backgrounds? Consider the user interface, platform, available content etc. ​

​Entries should be between 300 and 600 words, and they must address the questions above.  

If you could design your dream writing app, what would it look like? What kinds of feedback would it give?


The Learning Agency Lab will review all submissions that meet the minimum requirements and evaluate their potential to increase student outcomes and help educators. Proposals should be sure to address issues of equity, scalability, innovation as well as the potential to assist and augment teachers as well as support students.  The Lab will select and present finalists to a panel of educators that will evaluate the proposals and select one winner, who will be awarded a $3,000 prize. ​In addition, The Learning Agency Lab will publicize the themes from the submissions on our website so educators, developers, and researchers can learn from your innovation and ideas. The prize will be paid by Aug. 30, 2020.