I check a lot of my EFL student’s writing, especially the stuff that goes up on a blog and out to the world at large. I used to spend about half my correction time with students on articles, a common difficulty here in Japan. Now I just get my students to use grammarly, and that helps a lot.
Grammarly is a grammar-checking application on the web, free for the basic version. It works very well for many of the errors students are prone to, but can give false positives or miss some pretty common errors. It is not a replacement for sitting down with the student at their laptop and going through the text in question. (Correcting and sending errors to the student does not improve their writing.)
Students can upload documents to get checked and archived. I have done this with a couple of samples here. Notice the numbers of errors, we can immediately see who needs the most work, Student 1 is a pretty good writer, with only 65 errors, Student 2 needs a lot more correction with 222 errors.
Articles top the list of Student 2 errors, and clicking on the carat opens a small window to explain, if needed. She needs more than grammar help, and would benefit from another check after a rewrite. Student 1, though, is ready to use the program, with only a few errors to deal with.
The suggestions Grammarly makes are usually spot on, but students start to trust the program too much, accepting the changes without considering them. That is why it is important to sit down with them and go through the texts, at least on one or more passes, to show that Grammarly does not catch everything.
The biggest help for students is the Extension, a little software that you can add to your browser, so that grammar checking is integrated into anything you write on the web, including email. My students use it with Google Docs.
If you you want to use Grammarly with Microsoft Word, you have to get the premium edition ($135 a year). It also catches many other errors (noted in the free version with each check). I have a premium edition that I load student documents into to speed checking with the students.