Berkeley, CA, November 17, 2021—The National Writing Project (NWP) today releases the findings from a recent SRI International 1-year random assignment evaluation of NWP’s College, Career, and Community Writers Program (C3WP), a program that answers the contemporary call for respectful argumentative discourse. The instructional resources help teachers and students read critically, explore multiple points of view, and take a stand on important issues. The evaluation was part of a federal Investing in Innovation (i3) scale-up grant to test C3WP in new contexts and is the third evaluation of C3WP in secondary grades, all of which have found positive and statistically significant effects on student achievement.
For today’s young people, learning to write for a variety of purposes is a key component for college, career, and civic life. To support teachers in helping students meet contemporary writing demands, the NWP designed the C3WP with teacher-leaders from across the country. The goal was to ensure more teachers had the ability to teach college and career-ready writing – with a specific emphasis on writing arguments based on nonfiction texts.
Specifically, C3WP is an intensive professional development program that provides teachers with instructional resources and formative assessment tools for the teaching of evidence-based argument writing. C3WP works by integrating curricular resources, formative assessment, professional reading, and professional conversations. Teachers in C3WP typically participate in 45 hours of professional development per year for two years, experiencing instructional materials of the highest quality, learning to analyze student work carefully to determine instructional next steps, and leading their students towards active participation in their communities through argument writing.
For the study, 47 rural, high-need districts participated, half of which were randomly assigned to C3WP training and half of which received “business-as-usual” training for one year. To measure the impact on students, SRI administered a student writing assessment for all students, which showed that C3WP had a positive and significant impact on all four attributes of writing measured by the Analytic Writing Continuum for Source-Based Argument Writing (AWC-SBA): content, structure, stance, and convention.
“At a time when young people are constantly exposed to social media and the news, these findings are significant because they prove C3WP teaches students how to think critically about information they receive and gives them tools to express their own opinions and arguments in an impactful manner,” said Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, NWP Executive Director. “C3WP does more than improve practice in the teaching of writing, it also helps prepare students for a future of civic engagement, teaching them at an early age that their opinions matter.”
Since 2015, three rigorous, independent evaluations of C3WP have spanned 228 diverse schools in 20 states, all of which have pointed to program effectiveness in diverse contexts.
A research brief of the SRI report can be found here.