Short Answer Educator Experience Case Study ’23-’24

Abstract Short Answer finished its first full school year in classrooms in June of 2024. By year’s end, it reached over 50,000 monthly active teacher and students across all 50 states and 8 countries. The case study that follows is our effort to understand how those users experienced Short Answer over the course of the […]

6 lessons from 6 edtech conferences

I (Adam Sparks, cofounder of Short Answer) have felt something like a nerdy version of a touring rock band lately. I’ve been “on tour” sharing Short Answer and working with teachers on adjusting writing instruction and assessment in the wake of AI at 6 different Edtech conferences over the last three months. After hearing dozens […]

Writing Instruction for the Age of AI Workshop

Teachers taking place in a Short Answer workshop at the spring NETA conference in Omaha, NE

New AI tools like ChatGPT have upended K12 writing. Seven states have recently joined the Department of Education in calling for, “more professional development opportunities to equip educators with the skills and knowledge to effectively integrate AI into teaching and learning, and also for building students’ AI literacy”1. At the same time, almost 71% of educators […]

Short Answer Ambassadors

Ambassador badge, with "The Ambassador Program" written underneath

Intro Hello there, my name is Adam Sparks. My wife Alexa and I are the creators of Short Answer! First, we want to say thank you for being a Short Answer Teacher. We’re honored to have you using Short Answer in your classroom and are excited that you’re interested in becoming a Short Answer Ambassador. […]

TEKS + Short Answer

Short Answer logo + outline of the state of Texas

Short Answer in Texas Welcome Texas educators! Short Answer’s approach is a particularly good fit in schools that teach the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), especially for schools focusing on writing across the curriculum in the wake of recent updates to STAAR (see PDF 36-53 for the changes most relevant for Short Answer). Check out our […]

What’s with all the comparing in Short Answer?

two squares next to each other, the one on the right darker

When we lead professional development with schools at Short Answer, we often open with a controversial statement: Peer-to-peer feedback can be just as effective as feedback provided by teachers. This is true *IF* the peer feedback is scaffolded correctly. For us, that means using comparative judgment.  Comparative judgment The “Law of Comparative Judgment” was conceived […]

We don’t give students rubrics. Why is that?

A question mark on a board in an old classroom

The case against rubrics “Why don’t you give students rubrics when they provide peer feedback in Short Answer?” It’s a question we hear often from teachers and administrators. Answering it requires a quick review of learning research. Inspired by the work of Dr. Greg Ashman (2015) and the analysis of Dr. Dylan Wiliam, the images […]

AI detectors don’t work. What does that mean for K12 writing instruction?

Picture of student typing

An Inflection Point for K12 Writing K12 writing instruction is at an important inflection point.  New AI tools like ChatGPT have turned long-held practices upside down. Teachers, especially those teaching ELA classes, are caught between wanting to teach their students to use these new tools effectively while also being required to measure what students can […]

3 Helpful Teacher AI Prompts from Short Answer

What is an AI Prompt? An AI “prompt” is a written directive given to an AI model (e.g. ChatGPT) instructing it to generate a specific type of response. For teachers, learning how to craft effective AI prompts can transform instruction, administration, and communication tasks that previously consumed prep periods (and personal lives). In this post, […]

Crafting Questions & Feedback Criteria in Short Answer

Tips for Creating Questions Open-Ended: Use open-ended questions or writing prompts (see image below) to develop students’ writing ability and content knowledge in Short Answer. Phrases like “Explain why…,” “Describe how…,” or “What do you think about…?” will be helpful. For more sentence stems, download our question stem guide. Use the stems from boxes 2, […]