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IES Grant

Title: Evaluation of Writing Wings: Writing Instruction for Disadvantaged Elementary School Children
Center: NCER Year: 2005
Principal Investigator: Puma, Michael Awardee: Chesapeake Research Associates, LLC
Program: Field Initiated Evaluations of Education Innovations      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (7/1/2005-6/30/2008) Award Amount: $1,198,876
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305F050117

Purpose: In this project, researchers proposed to evaluate the effect of Writing Wings, a writing instruction program developed by the Success for All Foundation that targets disadvantaged children in grades 3 to 5, a critical period for the acquisition of good writing skills. At the end of the project, the researchers intended to show whether implementing Writing Wings in 20 elementary schools improved the writing of their disadvantaged students.

Structured Abstract


Setting: The research is being conducted in 20 high-poverty elementary schools from a national sample of schools that already have a relationship with the Success for All Foundation.

Sample: At each school, 2 grade 3 and 2 grade 4 classes are participating in the study, for a total of 80 classes and approximately 1,600 students.

Intervention: The aim of Writing Wings is to enhance teachers' skills and enable them to succeed at teaching their students to write through a combination of clear instructional goals, teacher modeling, and a cooperative writing process. The program teaches the types of writing required by state standards, emphasizes writing as a process, and addresses all levels of writing skills' content, process, organization, writer's craft, and mechanics. Heterogeneously grouped students work in teams discussing their work. The program includes ongoing professional development for participating teachers. The instructional program is already being used in a variety of low-income schools but has not yet been subjected to rigorous evaluation.

Research Design and Methods: The study is a randomized controlled trial in which classes are randomly assigned within schools. One class in each grade level is randomly assigned to a treatment (Writing Wings) group or a control group. Children in both groups will be studied for 2 school years

Control Condition: Students in the control classes receive whatever writing instruction is currently in place in their school.

Key Measures: Baseline data are collected in fall 2005 with follow-up data collected in spring 2006 and spring 2007. Data to be collected include student demographics, an assessment of students' writing ability (using standardized writing prompts and accompanying scoring rubrics), a brief assessment of their knowledge and ability to use writing mechanics, and student's reported writing confidence. Data will also be collected on the ongoing fidelity of the intervention instruction.

Data Analytic Strategy: The researchers will use hierarchical linear modeling analyses to examine overall program impact on the writing ability of elementary students and the impact on demographic subgroups.


ERIC Citations: Find available citations in ERIC for this award here.

Additional Online Resources and Information:

Puma, M., Tarkow, A., & Puma, A. (2007). The Challenge of Improving Children's Writing Ability: A Randomized Evaluation of "Writing Wings." Report prepared for the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.