Seagoville High School Success Story

Empowering students to triumph - on the test and in life - through fast, high-quality feedback

Fast Facts

  • Location. Public secondary school in Dallas Independent School District, Dallas, TX

  • Population. 1,355 students grades 9-12; 90.4% qualify for free or reduced lunch; 27.1% English language learners

  • Use case: Practice writing assessments in English I and English II for the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR)

Seagoville was the first school in Texas to launch P-TECH (Pathways to Technology Early College High School)

Seagoville was the first school in Texas to launch P-TECH (Pathways to Technology Early College High School)

The Problem

Challenging writing proficiency performance, plus a need for better evaluation process
Each spring, high school students across Texas sit for end-of-course (EOC) assessments in English I, English II, Algebra I, biology and U.S history as part of the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) program.

At Seagoville High School, writing proficiency is a known challenge. The school serves a low-income population on Dallas’ south side with a high number of ELL students. Developing strong writers and, in turn, effectively preparing students for state writing exams are key objectives of faculty and school leaders.  

Mock exams are an effective tool to prepare students and measure learner growth and proficiency. For students, the opportunity to practice writing and receive feedback on mock exams is critical. These formative assessments equip teachers with the student performance data and insight needed to build targeting re-teachings of problem areas and drive go-forward lesson planning and instruction. But mock exams are not without their challenges. For many schools, scoring these exams is operationally difficult, costly, and time consuming.

“We struggle so much just trying to get papers graded and back to students. Teachers don’t have time for individualized, one-on-one feedback, but feedback is so important.”
— Ms. J. Beth Menzies, Instructional Coach

At Seagoville High School, timing is a particular challenge. Because the window between the mock exam and the STAAR exam is so small, teachers lack the time to dig into scoring data before the test and make use of the rich feedback and insights. Moving the mock exam earlier doesn’t solve the problem. If students are tested too early, they won’t have time to learn the material they are required to know, and the test won’t be a good indicator of growth or proficiency. Seagoville needed a way to compress the evaluation process so that both teachers and students were able to reflect on and implement the feedback and data.

“Seagoville High School is a unique educational setting—our students have great potential, but they require us to know them and their unique learning struggles very well. The feedback we give them has to be targeted in order to be truly effective. We want all of our teachers to be reading and writing coaches in addition to content experts. State and AP tests are analogous to the “big game”—we want to empower our students so they know what to work on when to triumph on the tests and in their lives.”

- Ms. J. Beth Menzies
Campus Instructional Coach – ELAR
Gifted & Talented Manager/Advanced Placement Coordinator


Partnering to revamp the evaluation process and transform feedback into a powerful instructional tool
Seagoville partnered with The Graide Network to receive critical grading and feedback support on mock STAAR exams. The Graide Network is an online platform connecting K-12 schools with remote teaching assistants to provide critical on-demand grading and feedback support. “Graiders” are highly qualified, vetted undergraduate and graduate students from colleges across the country who are aspiring teachers. Graiders are normed and calibrated to deliver fast, accurate scoring for even the most complex assessments and they are trained on effective feedback best practices and standards.

“Our goal for the partnership was to empower our teachers to lead their classrooms at a whole new level.
We hoped that the Graiders could function as their “eyes and ears” to capture all the elements of student writing that were important and provide us feedback on the “big rocks” we needed to tackle in the classroom. We got all we hoped for and more! The amount and quality of the feedback the Graiders provided was truly just stunning and incredibly helpful.”

- Ms. J. Beth Menzies

Implementation and Scope of Work

Fast, reliable scores and high-quality feedback on Mock STAAR exams
Five English I and English II teachers administered mock STAAR exams on Monday, February 20th. Through The Graide Network platform, teachers were able to quickly and easily upload student work, along with the accompanying writing prompt, scoring guide, and anchor papers.

Three days later, teachers received scores and detailed feedback for every student (356 in total) as well as a high-level report broken down by teacher and course. The report included grade-wide insights and performance trends, beneficial for teachers, coaches, and school leaders. Each student received a one page report with their score, as well as detailed personalized feedback on their writing with specific, actionable strategies for growth.

“The Graiders provided us with feedback that was highly focused on the rubrics, which we found to be the key benefit. After [teachers received their reports], we intensified our focus in the classroom on the rubric and on models of good writing. We coupled that with a planning tool specifically designed to target those areas of the rubric which Graiders identified as hot spots.”

- Ms. J. Beth Menzies


High-quality feedback becomes a reality - a win for students and teachers
Teachers received the data they needed and gained both the time and capacity to analyze the data and implement instructional changes. Students received detailed, robust feedback on their writing - a quality and amount of feedback that individual teachers are rarely able to provide in such a short time frame. Plus, teachers received a detailed classwide overview and grade-wide performance report.

Personalized feedback for each student

"There was narrative feedback for every student that was specific to their writing - more than I could hope for as the instructional coach at a high school where every teacher has 150+ students.
In working with The Graide Network, we accomplished our goals and much more. I can see how this program could help us solve the bigger goal of feedback for students and teachers.”

- Ms. J. Beth Menzies

As a result of The Graide Network pilot:

  • Students received over 1,000 pieces of personalized feedback, broken down into area of strength and areas for growth. Feedback was specific and actionable.

  • Teachers saved a total of 40 hours in 4 days which they were able to reinvest in lesson planning, instruction, and 1:1 student engagement

  • Teachers received a 2-page, detailed performance summary broken down by teacher and course, as well high-level trends and student insights

  • Seagoville High School achieved their goal of compressing the evaluation process and turning feedback into a valuable instructional tool

Holistic feedback for teachers & coaches

“My goals going into The Graide Network pilot were modest. But after seeing their work, I realized this partnership could achieve so much more. The feedback provided was stunning, so rich in detail.”
“Spectacular feedback under areas of growth. Used student friendly language so students can make real improvements.”
— Ms. Buster Grades 9 & 10, ELA
“Great attention to detail and positive feedback really motivated my students to improve.”
— Ms. Ortega Grade 10, ELA