My advice for working on this rubric area is the same advice as for sentence structure: look over what you’ve written to double check for mistakes, and ask someone who’s good at writing to look over your practice essays and point out your errors. If you're really struggling with spelling, simply typing up your (handwritten) essay into a program like Microsoft Word and running spellcheck can alert you to problems. We've also got a great set of articles up on our blog about SAT Writing questions that may help you better understand any grammatical errors you are making.
While the technology has been developed primarily by companies in proprietary settings, there has been a new focus on improving it through open-source platforms. New players in the market, such as the startup venture LightSide and edX , the nonprofit enterprise started by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are openly sharing their research. Last year, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation sponsored an open-source competition to spur innovation in automated writing assessments that attracted commercial vendors and teams of scientists from around the world. (The Hewlett Foundation supports coverage of "deeper learning" issues in Education Week .)
Suddenly I remembered a game Sarah and I had played when we were eight and had competed to see who could stay underwater longer. I thought of how I’d watched her through the aqua pool water, fearing that I would surface before her. Even then I’d wanted so badly to win. Then, after a while, when I wasn’t sure I could hold my breath a second longer, just as I was about to give up and declare her the winner, Sarah would break the surface. I concentrated hard on staying under another two seconds, so I could beat her soundly. Then I broke the surface, and my lungs had filled with fresh, crisp air.