What questions are you seeking to answer through the daily survey?
- How are 8th, 9th, and 10th grade teachers across subject areas currently teaching writing in their classrooms?
- How much time do teachers devote to various writing skills and concepts?
- What techniques are teachers using to engage students in writing instruction?
- How do teachers decide which writing skills and concepts to prioritize in their instruction?
Who is being included in this study?
Any middle or high teacher who incorporates writing into their instruction, regardless of which content area they teach, is eligible to participate.
What are the long-term goals of the project?
Teachers lack the resources to teach writing well. Unlike in mathematics, where there are coherent, evidence-based sequences for effective teaching, there is currently no coherent roadmap of writing skills that teachers can use to support their students. Successful writing instruction is necessary to close gaps in equity, access, and success across schools. Therefore, our goal is to establish a logical progression of writing skills and corresponding approaches to instruction. To meet that goal, we must do two things:
Better understand the state of writing instruction in our schools today
There is a clear gap in the research about writing instruction that has been completed to date. Since the majority of research is grounded in data derived from surveys or observations conducted a few times per year, there is a lack of clarity about daily writing instruction in classrooms and schools. That is why we are focusing our efforts on capturing data to describe the daily writing strategies and approaches that teachers currently employ over the course of a full academic year in a wide range of classrooms.
Teachers and school leaders across the country are continuously inventing and reinventing pathways for writing instruction based upon student needs at a specific moment in time, rather than on a research-based approach to how students best learn to write. Our students and teachers deserve a coherent approach to teaching writing that acknowledges that writing is essential to all students in all subject areas. By designing this coherent approach, we can vastly improve students' performance and enable teachers and schools to serve their students well. A year-long data collection effort to map the reality of writing instruction has not been attempted previously and will be a new and exciting addition to our collective knowledge.
Construct a pathway by working alongside educators
Too often, research is done about teachers rather than with teachers. Because our work is meant to be enacted by educators, teachers must be vital partners in our project. Teachers will be an essential part of the process both by participating in the analysis of the data collected and co-constructing the writing pathway and by participating in learning communities to refine and improve the pathway that has been developed. We will also reflect back to teachers their individual data so they can examine their own practice. With teachers as our partners in data collection and pathway design, we will ensure that educators have a true voice in the guidance they will ultimately use in their classrooms.
Information for Interested Teachers
What will I be asked to do if I participate in this study?
At the beginning of the upcoming school year, we will ask you to complete an intake survey so that we can learn more about you and your classroom. Then, throughout the course of the school year, we will ask you to complete a daily 5-minute survey about your writing instruction on SurveyMonkey.com. Before you begin taking the daily surveys, we will provide a brief norming training.
Note that it is not necessary that you teach writing every day. Whenever you do not teach writing on a given day, you can simply indicate this on the survey.
What benefits will study participants receive?
All participating teachers will have access to a private, password-protected data dashboard that aggregates the data from their daily survey submissions. This data dashboard will give teachers the ability to see trends in their teaching, which may be helpful for planning purposes.
Participants will also have the opportunity to attend optional monthly virtual learning sessions with the study team to discuss overall trends in the research and help to formulate proposed pathways based on these trends.
In addition, teachers' participation will contribute to the creation of an open-source website that will provide guidance on how to sequence writing instruction. Since this website will be completely free, we expect it to benefit millions of teachers and students across the country.
What about participant privacy?
Upon completing the intake survey, each teacher will be assigned a unique code. Teachers will then be given a unique survey link based on their code. This unique survey link will allow teachers to complete the daily survey without entering any identifying information. As teachers complete their daily surveys, researchers will aggregate and analyze the de-identified data.
If information from this study is published or presented at scientific or professional meetings, teacher names and other personal information about you will not be used.