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IES Grant

Title: Alignment Across K12 Writing Standards, Assessments, Achievement, and Postsecondary Expectations: A State-by-State Analysis
Center: NCER Year: 2010
Principal Investigator: Troia, Gary Awardee: Michigan State University
Program: Improving Education Systems      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years Award Amount: $1,632,437
Goal: Exploration Award Number: R305A100040
Description:

Co-Principal Investigator: Natalie G. Olinghouse, University of Connecticut

Purpose: This study will analyze all 50 states' writing content standards and large-scale assessments to identify relationships between them. The project will further examine the relationships between these state policy instruments and (1) student writing achievement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for fourth grade; (2) research-based writing assessment and instructional practices; and (3) postsecondary expectations in the domain of writing.

Project Activities: The researchers will collect all states' K–12 writing content standards and writing assessments and code them for topic strand representation and cognitive demand. Once coded, writing standards and assessments will be compared across states and the alignment of standards and assessments will be compared within states. In addition, the standards are to be examined for their inclusion of research-based writing instructional practices identified in published meta-analysis. Likewise, the writing assessments are to be examined for their use of research-based assessment practices. The grade 9–12 writing content standards and assessments are to be contrasted with writing expectations for college/university and entry-level employment drawn from published sources. The researchers will also estimate the relationship between the cognitive demand of each state's K–4 writing standards and assessments, and their alignment, with fourth grade student performance on the 2011 NAEP writing assessment.

Products: The project will provide information on states' writing content standards and assessments (e.g., their cognitive difficulty, their alignment with each other and with postsecondary writing expectations, their inclusion of research-based practices, and their relationship with a national assessment) that can contribute to a coherent approach to developing standards and assessments. This information will be provided in both a policy brief and through peer reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research team is conducting primary analyses of 2010–2011 standards and assessments related to writing to evaluate various aspects of alignment within and across states' standards and assessments.

Population: Documents from all 50 states (and DC) will be analyzed along with the NAEP state-level writing assessment data for fourth graders.

Research Design and Methods: After collecting all states' writing content standards and assessments, they will be coded for topic strand (based on 6 strands) and cognitive demand (using 3 dimensions). Within-state analysis of the standards and assessments will examine these coding for grade bands and between-state comparisons will be made. Within-state alignment of standards and assessments will be examined using 7 measures of alignment. The instructional and assessment practices incorporated in the state writing content standards and assessments by grade band will be examined support in the research literature using a 0–2 scale (no support in the literature, minimal support, and evidence). The standards and assessments for grade 9–12 will be coded on a similar 0–2 scale as to whether they contain the postsecondary writing expectations identified in publications regarding college/university and entry-employment writing needs. The relationship between the K–4 standards and assessments and student performance on the 2011 4th grading NAEP writing assessment will be examined using a 4-level model (student within teacher within school within state).

Control Condition: There is no control condition.

Key Measures: Key measures will include: (a) the strand and cognitive demand ratings of each state's writing content standards and assessment; (b) the alignment between each state's writing standards and assessments; (c) the alignment between each state's standards, assessments, and research-based writing instructional and assessment practices; (d) the alignment between each state's grade 9–12 writing standards, assessments, and postsecondary writing expectations; and (d) 2011 NAEP grade 4 writing performance.

Data Analytic Strategy: The coding schemes to be used are drawn from the literature with some modification. A four level (student within teacher within school within state) multi-level model will be used to examine the relationship of states' writing content standards and assessments with 4th grade writing scores on the NAEP assessment.

Publications from this project:

Troia, G.A. (2013). Writing Instruction Within A Response To Intervention Framework: Prospects and Challenges For Elementary and Secondary Classrooms. In S. Graham, C.A. MacArthur, and J. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Best Practices in Writing Instruction (2nd ed., pp. 403–427). New York: Guilford Press.

** This project was submitted to and funded under Education Policy, Finance, and Systems in FY 2010.


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