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ERIC Number: ED522922
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun-1
Pages: 57
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 62
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
North Star of Texas Writing Project: Culturally Mediated Writing Instruction for Adolescent English Language Learners. Local Site Research Initiative Comprehensive Report: LSRI Cohort V
Wickstrom, Carol; Patterson, Leslie; Araujo, Juan
National Writing Project (NJ1)
One of the greatest challenges facing U.S. middle and high school teachers is the need to improve academic success among English language learner (ELL) students. Both the high school dropout rate and the college-enrollment rate provide compelling evidence of this need. This report documents one attempt to meet this challenge, a National Writing Project advanced institute focused on improving academic writing among adolescent English learners. The institute engaged teacher-consultants in exploring and implementing "culturally mediated writing instruction" (CMWI), a set of research-based principles and practices. The ultimate goal was to improve students' academic writing, but this report also documents the diverse and sometimes-surprising ways that these teachers integrated CMWI into their classrooms. In year 1--studied through a descriptive cross-case analysis--six teacher-researchers from one middle school and two high schools in north Texas participated in the project. Data included pre/post writing samples, classroom observations, teacher interviews, and teachers' written reflections. The teachers each chose a target class, resulting in a study total of approximately 45 middle school and 70 high school students. Although gains were noted in each writing area across all grade levels, the only statistically significant gain was among middle school students' use of vocabulary to express their ideas ("diction") t =2.83, df = 24, p = 0.009. The analysis of qualitative data in year 1 also yielded refinements to CMWI principles and practices, which were integrated into the year 2 professional development institute. In year 2 the research followed a mixed-methods, quasi-experimental design. Nine middle and high school teacher-researchers from four Texas Writing Project sites (Central Texas, North Star of Texas, Sabal Palms, and West Texas) participated; seven of the teacher-researchers were new to the project. Student diversity was similar to that in year 1. In year 2 the research followed a mixed-methods, quasi-experimental design. Nine middle and high school teacher-researchers from four Texas Writing Project sites (Central Texas, North Star of Texas, Sabal Palms, and West Texas) participated; seven of the teacher-researchers were new to the project. Student diversity was similar to that in year 1. Research questions again focused on CMWI's influence on student writing and also on how teachers integrated the CMWI approach (including how their use of CMWI practices changed over time). To answer questions about the influence of this approach, the design included a comparison of student writing scores from program teachers' classrooms with those from matched cases. Data sources again included pre/post writing samples, classroom observations, teacher interviews, and teachers' written reflections. Qualitative data were analyzed inductively; input from the teacher-researchers helped refine the emerging categories. Findings from a quantitative analysis of year 2 data show that CMWI was indeed effective for middle and high school students, as evidenced by gains in all areas of the Analytic Writing Continuum for 56 middle school students and 22 high school students learning English as a second language. The most salient finding from the year 2 qualitative analysis is that program teachers orchestrated complex and responsive instructional support, or mediation, both for individuals and groups of students. Finally, the findings in this report suggest that there were unique patterns in the ways each teacher appropriated CMWI practices. These patterns were influenced both by external constraints and by teachers' beliefs about what would most benefit their students. Future research could productively focus on the interaction between these constraints/beliefs and teachers' options for decision making. It could also productively focus on the extent to which CMWI helps students appropriate language and literacy practices that will lead to academic success in the ever-changing national and global environment they will be entering after high school. Appended are: (1) Culturally Mediated Writing Instruction Inquiry Cycle; (2) Year 2 Middle and High School Student Demographics and Comparison Schools; (3) Year 2 Middle and High School ESL/Non-ESL Students by Group; (4) Year 2 Middle and High School Mean Differences Between CMWI and Comparison Group; and (5) Year 2 Middle and High School Repeated-Measures ANOVA Results for All Matched Cases on Holistic and Analytic Scores. (Contains 8 tables and 3 figures.) [This paper was written with Jennifer Roberts, Lori Assaf, Angelica Fuentes, and Chieko Hoki.]
National Writing Project. University of California, 2105 Bancroft Way #1042, Berkeley, CA 94720-1042. Tel: 510-642-0963; Fax: 510-642-4545; e-mail: nwp@writingproject.org; Web site: http://www.nwp.org
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Writing Project
Identifiers - Location: Texas