WWC review of this study

Evaluation of the expository reading and writing course: Findings from the Investing in Innovation development grant.

Fong, A. B., Finkelstein, N. D., Jaeger, L. M., Diaz, R., & Broek, M. E. (2015). San Francisco, CA: WestEd. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED559522.pdf Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED559522

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
    , grade

Reviewed: October 2019

Does not meet WWC standards
Study sample characteristics were not reported.

Reviewed: August 2016

At least one finding shows moderate evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Academic achievement outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

English Placement Test

Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Full sample;
3,002 students





Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Female: 52%
    Male: 48%
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
    Not Hispanic
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y



This study took place in nine California school districts, with a total of 24 participating high schools. In the primary analyses, there were a total of 56 teachers in the Intervention condition (ERWC) and 58 teachers in the comparison condition. The number of teachers in the analytic sample from sensitivity analysis #3, which is reviewed here by the WWC, is not reported.

Study sample

The overall sample included 52% female, 4% African American, 27% Asian, 45% Hispanic, and 24% White students.

Intervention Group

The intervention condition was a year-long academic reading and writing course implemented by teachers who a) agreed to participate in the intervention group and b) attended both summer professional development for the intervention training and ongoing, professional development while teaching the intervention course. The intervention condition was an Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) designed to improve students' English language arts skills. Teachers participated in two days of face-to-face summer professional development prior to implementing the ERWC. Intervention teachers also received curriculum materials for use in their classrooms; these materials were developed specifically for the ERWC. Students in the ERWC course received instruction designed to improve reading and writing skills, with a special focus on reading and writing rhetorically. The curriculum modules were built along three primary domains: a) reading rhetorically, b) connecting reading to writing, and c) writing rhetorically. Students also practice analytical writing skills (e.g., summative essays, timed writing exercises, and writing in response to prompts).

Comparison Group

The comparison condition was a business-as-usual and included students' participation in their non-ERWC English language arts courses.

Support for implementation

Teachers in the intervention condition participated in two days of summer face-to-face professional development as well as ongoing, yearlong professional learning communities and development opportunities during the intervention year. During their professional development, teachers learned to use the curriculum materials, were immersed in the Expository Reading and Writing course objectives and curriculum, and had opportunities to work with other intervention group teachers. Activity logs were kept, and teachers were encouraged to participate in professional learning communities at their school sites along with other intervention group teachers. Teachers were in communication with the research team, and had ongoing opportunities to ask questions and receive support as they worked to teach the ERWC in their schools.


Your export should download shortly as a zip archive.

This download will include data files for study and findings review data and a data dictionary.

Connect With the WWC

back to top