Robust Feedback within English Courseware

Hawkes Learning’s Practice mode gives students ample feedback when they answer questions incorrectly. Several different tutorial options are available to students, including Explain Error, which provides error-specific feedback immediately when the mistake is made; Hint, which gives students a clue as to how they can answer the question correctly if they’re still struggling; and Solution, which states the correct answer.

Students can then try a similar question in order to test their knowledge. Once they feel comfortable with the material in Practice, students move on to the Certify mode, which does not provide learning aids in order to hold students accountable for their learning.

Check out two examples of the robust feedback provided in Practice below:

In Foundations of English‘s Chapter 4: Grammar and Mechanics, the courseware asks the following:

Does the following sentence use pronoun-antecedent agreement? Select the best answer.

Damien is running for class president, and his sister is helping them with the campaign.

The two choices are the following:
  • Yes, this sentence uses pronoun-antecedent agreement.
  • No, this sentence does not use pronoun-antecedent agreement.

If students select the first answer, the courseware provides this feedback:

Explain Error

Your Answer: Yes, this sentence uses pronoun-antecedent agreement.

You were asked to determine if the following sentence uses pronoun-antecedent agreement:

Damien is running for class president, and his sister is helping them with the campaign.

 

Your answer is incorrect because the pronoun is plural and neutral, but the antecedent is singular and male.

For a hint to solve this problem, select Hint.

Hint

You were asked to determine if the following sentence uses pronoun-antecedent agreement:

Damien is running for class president, and his sister is helping them with the campaign.

 

Remember, for a pronoun and its antecedent to agree, they must have the same gender and number. The gender of words can be female, male, or neutral. The number is either singular or plural.

If an antecedent is neutral and refers to a person or animal, it can be used with a male or female pronoun based on the other information in the sentence. However, inanimate objects do not have gender, so they are always renamed with neutral pronouns.

Take a look at the following sentence that includes both a pronoun and its antecedent:

Jennifer always makes the dessert because she is the best baker.

The pronoun she agrees with its antecedent Jennifer (the noun it renames). Both words are singular in number and female in gender. This is what you look for when checking for pronoun-antecedent agreement.

 

Solution

You were asked to determine if the following sentence uses pronoun-antecedent agreement:

Damien is running for class president, and his sister is helping them with the campaign.

The following answer is correct:

No, this sentence does not use pronoun-antecedent agreement.

The pronoun them is plural and neutral, but the antecedent Damien is singular and male.


In Foundations of English‘s Chapter 5: Style, the courseware asks the following:

Read the following passage.

People from all across the country enter the contest, and they all want their own shot at fame. Fame is fleeting, but these people do not care. They all believe they will be “the next big thing.” Even when disappointment comes crashing down on them, they still struggle and claw their way back up. Being content is not something humans are good at.
 
 
Which sentences do not use coordination to join clauses? Select all that apply.

Click on a word or word group to make a selection. To undo, click on the selection again. Alternatively use the Tab and spacebar to select or deselect the word or word group.

Students receive error-specific feedback when they select the following sentence from the passage: Even when disappointment comes crashing down on them, they still struggle and claw their way back up.

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