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2006Research Conference | June 15–16

This conference highlighted the work of invited speakers, independent researchers who have received grant funds from the Institute of Education Sciences, and trainees supported through predoctoral training grants and postdoctoral fellowships. The presentations are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Education or the Institute of Education Sciences.
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
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An Evaluation of 'Writing Wings': Writing Instruction for Disadvantaged Elementary School Children

Presenters:
Michael Puma, Chesapeake Research Associates, LLC
Nancy Madden, Success for All Foundation
Denise Douce, Success for All Foundation

Abstract: The ability to write is a fundamental part of literacy and a skill that all children need to acquire. Unfortunately, the Nation's Report Card shows that fewer than one in three 4th- and 8th-graders, and one in four 12th-graders, scored at or above the proficient level. Results are particularly disappointing for minority and economically disadvantaged students. To address this problem, we are evaluating an innovative writing program for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders, called Writing Wings (developed by the Success For All Foundation) that seeks to enhance teachers' skills through a combination of clear instructional goals, teacher modeling, and a cooperative writing process.

The study, a cluster randomized control trial, is being conducted in 17 schools in 12 different states during the 2005-06 school year, and in a second cohort of 23 schools in 13 states during the 2006-07 school year (for a total of about 3,000 students). At each school, one 3rd grade class and one 4th grade class were randomly assigned to receive Writing Wings training and materials, while one other 3rd and 4th grade class was assigned to be a control classroom in which teachers continued with their current instruction. Data collection consists of a fall baseline and spring follow-up that included a structured essay test administered to students along with a student questionnaire, as well as a teacher questionnaire and teacher ratings of student's ability. The poster session will describe the first year experiences including the results of the randomization and the baseline data.