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Test of Emergent Writing Skills

Year: 2008
Name of Institution:
University of Pittsburgh
Goal: Measurement
Principal Investigator:
Puranik, Cynthia
Award Amount: $1,133,667
Award Period: 4 years
Award Number: R305A090622

Description:

Previous Award Number: R305A080488
Previous Awardee: Florida State University

Purpose: Writing is a challenging activity for most school-age children as noted from children’s performance on national assessments. Hence, early identification of children who may be at risk for writing difficulties could be just as imperative as the early identification of children at risk for reading difficulties. The purpose of this project is to design, develop, and validate an assessment instrument designed to examine emergent writing in preschool children, with the ultimate goal of producing an assessment protocol that can be used by classroom teachers and educators working with young children to identify those at risk for later writing difficulties.

Project Activities: The research team is developing and validating an instrument to measure emergent writing in preschool children. A companion screener/progress monitoring version will also be developed that teachers or educators can use for assessment of emergent writing skills or to monitor children’s progress.

Products: The product from this study will be a fully developed and validated instrument to measure emergent writing in preschool children.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The study will be conducted in private preschools, child care centers, public pre-kindergarten, and Head Start classes serving low, middle and upper income families.

Population: Participants for the study will include preschool children three- to five-years of age. Children will be recruited to be representative of the nation as a whole with respect to age, gender, and ethnicity, and will include a mix of children from different types of preschools and family socioeconomic backgrounds.

Intervention: The product from this study will be a fully developed and validated instrument to measure emergent writing in preschool children. A companion screener/progress monitoring version will also be developed that teachers or educators can use for assessment of emergent writing skills or to monitor children’s progress.

Research Designs and Methods: The proposed project involves five overlapping studies for development and refinement of the subscales to be included in the measure using Item Response Theory analyses, obtaining short-term and long-term concurrent, predictive, and incremental validity of the instrument, development of a screening and progress monitoring version of the proposed instrument for use by teachers and educators, and standardization of a comprehensive assessment of children’s emergent writing skills.

Key Measures: The protocol will include researcher-developed writing assessments. Instruments used for establishing validity of the proposed assessment include standardized tests of phonological awareness, reading, writing, reasoning, and math. The measurement battery will include the Block Design and Matrix Reasoning subtests of the Weschler Preschool and Primary Intelligence Scale (WPPSI-III), the Test of Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL), Letter-Word Identification and Applied Problems subtests of the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement (WJ-III), the Word Identification, Word Attack, and Passage Comprehension subtests of the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised (WRMT-R), and the Test of Early Written Language-2 (TEWL-2) .

Data Analytic Strategy: Analytical methods will vary depending on the research questions for each of the proposed five studies. Overall, these analytical methods will include descriptive, correlational, and polynomial regression analyses for analyzing normative data, item response theory (IRT) analysis to select and refine items for the assessment protocol, and confirmatory factor analyses to address questions regarding validity.

Publications from this project:

Puranik, C.S., and Al Otaiba, S. (2012). Examining The Contribution Of Handwriting and Spelling To Written Expression In Kindergarten Children. Reading and Writing, 25 (7): 1523–1546.

Puranik, C.S. and Apel, K. (2010). Effect of Assessment Task and Letter Writing Ability on Preschool Children's Spelling Performance. Assessment for Effective Instruction (Special Issue on Spelling), 36 (1): 46–56.

Puranik, C.S., and Lonigan, C.J. (2011). From Scribbles To Scrabble: Preschool Children's Developing Knowledge Of Written Language. Reading and Writing, 24 (5): 567–589.

Puranik, C.S. and Lonigan, C., (2012). Early Writing Deficits in Preschoolers with Oral Language Difficulties. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 45 (2): 179–190.

Puranik, C.S. and Lonigan, C., (2012). Name-writing proficiency, not length of name, is associated with preschool children's emergent literacy skills. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 27, 284–294.

Puranik, C.S., Lonigan, C.J., and Kim, Y. (2011). Contributions Of Emergent Literacy Skills To Name Writing, Letter Writing, and Spelling In Preschool Children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26 (4): 465–474.

Puranik, C.S., Wagner, R., Kim, Y., and Lopez, D. (2012). Assessing Elementary Students' Transcription and Text Generation during Written Translation: A Multivariate Approach. In M. Fayol, D. Alamargot, and V. Berninger (Eds.), Translation of Thought to Written Text while Composing: Advancing Theory, Knowledge, Methods, and Applications.

Puranik, C.S., Wagner, R.K., Kim, Y., and Lopez, D. (2012). Multivariate Assessment Of Processes In Elementary Students' Written Translation. In M. Fayol, D. Alamargot, V. W. Berninger (Eds.), Translation of Thought to Written Text While Composing: Advancing Theory, Knowledge, Research Methods, Tools, and Applications (pp. 249–274). New York, NY US: Psychology Press.