Daily Archive for April 15th, 2009

Carnival is up

Joanne Jacobs hosted the eighty-fourth Carnival of Education this week. Review the posts by following this link.

Effective methods for teaching writing

Using the methods of meta-analysis, Steve Graham and Dolores Perin examined research about alternative means for teaching written expression to students from fourth through twelfth grades. They limited their review to studies that assessed outcomes on measures of the quality of students’ writing. Unsuprisingly, they found that some of the methods used in teaching writing are more effective than others.

There is considerable concern that the majority of adolescents do not develop the competence in writing they need to be successful in school, the workplace, or their personal lives. A common explanation for why youngsters do not write well is that schools do not do a good job of teaching this complex skill. In an effort to identify effective instructional practices for teaching writing to adolescents, the authors conducted a meta-analysis of the writing intervention literature (Grades 4 –12), focusing their efforts on experimental and quasi-experimental studies. They located 123 documents that yielded 154 effect sizes for quality of writing. The authors calculated an average weighted effect size (presented in parentheses) for the following 11 interventions: strategy instruction (0.82), summarization (0.82), peer assistance (0.75), setting product goals (0.70), word processing (0.55), sentence combining (0.50), inquiry (0.32), prewriting activities (0.32), process writing approach (0.32), study of models (0.25), grammar instruction (– 0.32).

The basic, take-home message: Systematic and explicit instruction helps students write higher quality products than the pop-ed alternative that stress thinking, reflection, and such.
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