Educator with a Practical Use for Sentence Diagramming
Jim Britt says software can help kids pass high-stakes tests
Part Two of a Two-Part Interview
Jim Britt is an academic advisor for Sentence Analytics, a company whose sentence diagramming tool is designed to help all students better comprehend what they read – especially English language learners. He spent 40 years as a classroom teacher and brings a wealth of institutional knowledge to the company.
I asked Jim about the purpose behind sentence diagramming software, and he gave me an unexpected yet very practical answer. “A hundred thousand kids in the state of Texas across all grade levels failed their state test by one or two questions,” Jim said. “When they fail the test by one or two questions, it’s a fail, and they’ve got to take it again. The districts and the classroom teachers have to use a lot of resources ─ material resources, human resources, financial resources ─ to help these kids catch up. If we can be successful in using the technology, especially early enough in the process, then we feel like we can really benefit everybody up and down the line by not having these large numbers of kids fail. We have the same number of kids pass by three or four questions. And so, we just don’t have this need for all this remedial stuff. We’re hoping that it can have that kind of impact through the chain.”
Helping with high-stakes tests is just one of the positive outcomes with Sentence Analytics software. It’s apparent that Jim and his team are making significant progress.
About Jim Britt
Jim Britt graduated from the University of Texas at Austin earning a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in English Education. His first teaching job was with the New South Wales Department of Education working at a combined high school and middle school in Caringbah, a southern suburb of Sydney. Upon his return to the United States, he took a job with the Austin Independent School District as one of the original faculty at the District’s first alternative school, W.R. Robbins, where he taught English to both middle and high school students for a decade.
His final teaching position was also with Austin ISD serving as the Lead Teacher as well as teaching English and social studies at the Travis County Juvenile Detention Center for 27 years. He retired from there in February 2017. Jim is currently an academic advisor to Sentence Analytics.
He enjoys travel, opera, food and wine, and the company of his many good friends. And he is grateful for the time to read and reflect on educational practices and contribute to helping students of all ages become lifelong learners.
- Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette – Long lineage of literacy
- edCircuit – An Educator Who Sees the English Inside the Math Exams
- Boston Globe – Reflections on the lost art of diagramming sentences
It is acknowledged that Dr. Berger serves as a strategic advisor to Sentence Analytics
This post includes mentions of a partner of MindRocket Media Group the parent company of edCircuit