National Writing Project

Evaluating Project WRITE: Determining the Impact of a Professional Development Program Focusing on a Writing Workshop Approach and the Traits of Quality Writing

By: Dawn Hawkins, Sarah Hunt-Barron, Harriett Williams, Rebecca Kaminski
Date: November 3, 2011

Summary: This study documents the effects of a professional development program, Project WRITE (Write, Respond, Instruct, Talk, Evaluate): A Model for Changing Teaching Practice and Impacting Student Writing, conducted by Upstate Writing Project (UWP). The results highlight the important role of administrative support in transforming instructional practice and the importance of time in teacher development programs.

 

Excerpt from Report

Although our initial study was conceived to examine a single school over two years of professional development, the change to a two-year study examining the impact of professional development at two different schools allowed us to examine in more detail the effectiveness of the professional development program and also examine the conditions that may best support it. Our research indicates that the environment of the school, particularly school administrators' views of the value of the professional development, has a direct and significant impact on teachers' philosophy and practice. Finally, while teachers' attitudes about writing improved and teacher's self-efficacy grew in both program schools in this study, the discrepancy between the student outcomes at Program Schools I and II points to the importance of further study of the factors that influence teacher incorporation of new strategies in classrooms.

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