WWC review of this study

UC Irvine Writing Project’s Pathway to Academic Success program: An Investing in Innovation (i3) validation grant evaluation. Technical report.

Woodworth, K., Arshan, N., & Gallagher, H.A. (2017). Menlo Park, CA: SRI International. https://www.sri.com/wp-content/uploads/pdf/pathway_i3_sri_technical_report_21dec17_final_in_jan.pdf

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grades

Reviewed: February 2022

At least one finding shows strong evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Writing quality outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Analytic Writing Continuum for Literary Analysis (AWC-LA)

Pathway to Academic Success (Pathway Project) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample at the end of Year 1;
894 students




More Outcomes

Analytic Writing Continuum for Literary Analysis (AWC-LA)

Pathway to Academic Success (Pathway Project) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample at the end of year 2, continuing students;
486 students





Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • 13% English language learners

  • Female: 48%
    Male: 52%
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The University of California, Irvine's Writing Project (UCIWP) offered the Pathway Project in one large Southern California district and supported three other Southern California sites with implementing the Pathway Project. Criteria for selecting the additional sites included experienced leadership and large numbers of English learners. Students in grades 7-12 enrolled in ELA classes participated in the study.

Study sample

The sample was approximately 48% female and 52% male. The majority of students (66%) were Latino/a. The sample was 19% White, 2% African American, and 7% Asian (72% of students' race was unspecified). Approximately 13% of treatment group students were English learners.

Intervention Group

The University of California Irvine’s Writing Project’s Pathway to Academic Success program provides ongoing, sustained professional development (PD) for secondary English Language Development and English language arts teachers. This PD focuses on how to explicitly teach, model, and scaffold instruction in the cognitive strategies (or thinking tools) that research indicates experienced readers and writers access when they analyze and interpret complex texts. In addition to attending PD, teachers are expected to implement at least two extended Pathway-developed lessons or “tutorials”—one designed to teach students to use cognitive strategies for reading and writing and another designed to teach specific strategies for essay revision. The Pathway Project is designed to change teachers’ instructional practices in analytical reading and writing, with the goal of improving 7th through 12th grade English-learner students’ ability to read and write analytically, thereby improving their school success and persistence through college.

Comparison Group

Teachers in the comparison condition implemented business as usual. Teachers likely implemented their typical English curricula and received business as usual professional development. Students were likely exposed to instruction and support services as they had been in the past.

Support for implementation

No implementation support was described separate from the intervention components, which included several types of support. Before program implementation, leaders from all four sites met several times before project launch in fall 2014 to learn more about the Pathway Project and to discuss available supports. During program implementation, site directors learned more about the details of the Pathway Project by observing the professional development sessions. Finally, the UCIWP team provided extensive resources for the sites to use in delivering the professional development (e.g., agendas, presentation materials) as well as instructional materials (e.g., tutorials or scaffolded lessons) for them to give the teachers.

Reviewed: July 2021

Study sample characteristics were not reported.

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