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ERIC Number: ED562736
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Impact Evaluation of National Writing Project Professional Development Program
Gallagher, H. Alix; Woodworth, Katrina; McCaffrey, Teresa; Park, Christina J.; Wang, Haiwen
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Improving teacher effectiveness is a key strategy to ensure student readiness for college and careers and to address achievement gaps and persistent low performance. In response to the new Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts (CCSS-ELA) the National Writing Project (NWP) created a professional development (PD) program to support third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade teachers with their writing instruction. In partnership with the NWP, researchers sought to study the implementation of the program, estimate its effects, understand how context affected implementation, and provide formative feedback about the program. This study had four primary research questions: (1) Was the PD program implemented with fidelity?; (2) What impact did the PD program have on teacher practice?; (3) What impact did the PD program have on student writing?; and (4) How did contextual factors influence teachers' uptake of new ideas in their classrooms? The NWP is a network of approximately 200, university-based Local Writing Project (LWP) sites that deliver PD throughout the country. LWP sites share a common model that includes university faculty working in collaboration with K-12 expert teachers. The NWP received a Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant in 2012. The NWP issued an RFP to LWP sites interested in participating in the SEED program and evaluation and actively recruited sites that had a track record of providing intensive in-service PD with elementary teachers and experience in high-need schools. NWP launched the program in partnership with 14 LWP sites, located in 13 states, including 7 in the South, 3 in the Midwest, 2 in the West. The evaluation was designed as a cluster randomized controlled trial in which schools were assigned to either the treatment or control condition. LWP sites identified at least one pair of high-poverty schools, defined as a school in which at least 50% of students are from low-income families. The 14 LWP sites recruited 22 pairs of elementary schools for the study. During the winter of 2013, one school attrited; researchers dropped its matched pair, resulting in a final sample of 13 LWP sites and 42 schools (21 pairs). The SEED program targeted all third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade teachers in program schools. To measure program impacts on students, researchers administered on-demand writing prompts to all students in mainstream third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade classes in both program and control schools in the fall of 2012 and spring of 2013. Despite the research-based attributes of the SEED PD (see Yoon et al., 2007) and its influences on program school teachers' instructional practices, SEED PD did not impact student argument writing as measured by on-demand prompts scored on the National Writing Project's AWC. Tables and figures are appended.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 3; Primary Education; Elementary Education; Early Childhood Education; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Grade 5; Middle Schools; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001