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ERIC Number: ED504279
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Dec
Pages: 63
Abstractor: As Provided
The Challenge of Improving Children's Writing Ability: A Randomized Evaluation of "Writing Wings"
Puma, Michael; Tarkow, Allison; Puma, Anna
Online Submission
Background: This study evaluated the impact on student's writing ability of a structured writing program, called "Writing Wings," for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders developed by the Success For All Foundation (SFAF). Writing is a critical skill for success in school. Purpose: The study was intended to answer one confirmatory question, "What is the impact of 'Writing Wings' on the writing ability of 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade elementary students?"; and two exploratory questions--"What is the impact of 'Writing Wings' on the writing attitudes and practices of 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade elementary students?" and "Do the impacts vary by the characteristics of the students and their teachers?" Setting: A total of 39 schools, from 21 states, participated in the study over two years (2005-06 and 2006-07). Study Sample: A total of 39 schools, 150 teachers and 3,000 students. Teachers were randomized to a treatment or control group. Intervention: "Writing Wings" is designed to enhance teachers' skills through a combination of clear instructional goals, teacher modeling, and a cooperative writing process. The program consists of twelve units of detailed daily lesson plans that support instruction in descriptive, informative, persuasive, and narrative writing. Each unit includes writing prompts and writing challenges, with instruction spanning over ten days. Within units, lessons highlight the writing process of planning, drafting, sharing and responding, revising, and editing. The lessons include language mechanics and are rich with cooperative learning opportunities. Research Design: Experimental; Control or Comparison Condition: Business as usual writing instruction. Data Collection and Analysis: Data collection included a researcher-administered student writing test and survey, a teacher survey, teacher ratings of students' writing ability, and assessments of implementation fidelity. Impact analysis was done using HLM [hierarchical linear modeling]. Findings: The results indicate some impact on instructional practices, however, no overall impacts on students' writing ability. The exploratory analyses provide evidence of: a relatively large overall positive impact on the frequency of student-reported in-school writing for low-ability students; and, subgroup impacts on the written organization skills for 5th grade students. Conclusion: The limited student impacts may arise because the observed effects on teaching practices was inadequate to sufficiently affect student outcomes. The time required for teachers to reach an acceptable level of implementation was slower than originally expected. Descriptive analysis suggests the need for greater attention to teacher training by the developer. The following are appended: (1) Site Agreement and Parent Consent Form; (2) Student and Teacher Questionnaires; and (3) Impacts on Teacher Outcomes. Citation: Puma, Michael J., Allison Tarkow, and Anna Puma (2007). The Challenge of Improving Children's Writing Ability: A Randomized Evaluation of Writing Wings. Annapolis, MD: Chesapeake Research Associates. (Contains 21 exhibits and 38 footnotes.) [This report was prepared for the the Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Education.]
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3; Grade 4; Grade 5
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States