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>> Good afternoon everyone.
My name is Jennifer Lillenstein.
I work as an educational consultant with PaTTAN.
Today we're going to be covering the topic of Progress Monitoring for Writing.
And I will be borrowing heavily from the work of Michelle Cost,
Scott Baker, and Stephen Graham [phonetic].
So thank you again for joining us.
Just as a reminder, at the end of the webinar, you'll be asked to submit questions,
and we will get back to you as soon as possible via email.
If you're not familiar with PaTTAN, this is our mission.
It's to support the efforts and initiatives of the Bureau of Special Education,
and to build the capacity of LEA's to serve students who receive special education services.
Our goal for each child is to ensure individualized education programs and teams
to begin with the general education setting.
The use of supplementary aids and services before considering a more
Measurement of student growth in writing is critically important, because as you're aware
of the strong relationship that exists between learning
to write and understanding what is read.
The PA course standards emphasize comprehension of increasingly complex text,
which is dependent upon proficient writing skills.
So today we'll be talking about various progress monitoring measures you can use for writing,
and evidence-based instructional practices in this area.
It's important to also note that along with reading problems,
written expression problems constitute the greatest number of referrals to,
and placements within special education.
Students with learning disabilities write much more poorly
than do students without disabilities.
And pay little attention to the needs of the audience.
The organization of text.
Development of goals.
Or the constraints imposed by a given topic [pause].
When we think about assessment of written expression,
our assessment procedure should be guided by a decision-making purpose.
And the data collected should reflect that purpose.
Meaning that the purpose and relevance of the assessment data should be clear
to parents, students, and other educators.
In order to proceed with appropriate assessment choices,
we need to answer the following question.
What exactly is the question about the student's writing that is being asked?
And which measures will provide you with the answers?
In addition to the assessment of student writing performance itself,
we should also consider whether environmental, curricular,
and/or instructional factors are contributing to a student's writing difficulties.
And whether they should serve as instructional and/or intervention targets.
So best practices in the assessment of written expression involves collecting multiple measures
of student performance, and looking for patterns of convergence among the measures
to identify student writing strengths and weaknesses or needs.
The amount of progress the student is making.
And those instructional practices that are making a difference --
or that appear to be making a difference [pause].
According to Baker and Hubbard, there are 6 measurable components of written expression
that reliably distinguish skilled from unskilled writers, and help guide our assessment
and instructional goal-setting practices.
The 6 components that we can assess include fluency, grammar, conventions, content,
penmanship, and student knowledge of the writing process.
We're going to look at each one more closely [pause].
When we assess fluency, we are measuring the student's ability to generate words,
simple sentences, and compositions of increasing length.
We assess writing fluency by determining the number of words written in the specified period
of time, using curriculum-based measurement, or by summarizing the average length
of the sentences that the student produces [pause].
We provided a sample IEP goal for you.
Given a 3 minute timed writing probe.
The student will increase the total number of words written correctly from 10 words
to 20 words on 3 consecutive weekly probes.
Assessment of grammar includes both the examination
of the students vocabulary and sentence structure.
So is there correct use of words, and is there a combination of words within sentences [pause]?
In order to assess the student's grammar, we can look at the students vocabulary with respect
to variety as well as maturity of the words they use.
To measure variety of words, we're looking for student use of a variety of words.
So you can examine the first 50 to 100 words that the student writes,
and then divide the number of different words by the total number of words written.
And then compare the outcome to other students,
or to previous samples of that student's writing.
We can also assess variety of words more qualitatively
by making a judgment about the students word choices.
For example, did the student use a variety of words that convey the intended message
in a precise, interesting, and natural way?
To measure maturity of words -- and maturity's defined as meaning words with 7
or more letters -- we can define the number of mature words --
that is 7 or more letters -- by the total number of words.
So you can see again, the sample IEP goal.
Given a written assignment, the student will include at least 3 different descriptive words
of 7 or more letters appropriate to the text, on 3 out of 4 monthly assignments [pause].
In order to assess grammar, we also need to look at the students sentence structure
and calculate the percentage of incomplete, simple, compound, complex,
run-on, and fragmented sentences.
We would calculate percentages for a number or variety of student writing samples.
Particularly if the student has produced samples that differ in length.
We would then compare percentages and see if there are improvements.
Knowing that as student writing improves, there is generally an increased production
of the percentage of compound and complex sentences.
And a decrease in incomplete, run-on, fragmented, and/or simple sentences.
The sample IEP goal reads, "Using word prediction software and a graphic organizer,
Jill will write a multiple paragraph essay on an informational topic achieving a score of 9
or better, on a focus-weighted rubric for 2 out of 3 bi-weekly writing assignments" [pause].
In terms of conventions, we're talking about spelling, capitalization, and punctuation,
which are difficult for many students.
So we can assess conventions by determining the number of words spelled correctly,
which can often help us identify the root cause of writing problems.
The proportion or percentage of capitalization and punctuation errors per every 100 words,
and the number of correct writing sequences, which we'll explain later.
And I'll let you just independently read those two sample IEP goals that we provided.
[ Pause ]
When we assess quality of writing content,
we can use what's referred to as an analytic rating scale.
An analytic rating scale includes analysis of the student's story or idea.
Organization and cohesion.
And conventions and/or mechanics.
We can rate each of these dimensions on a 5 point scale,
based upon precise definitions for each point.
You can research Tindal and Hasbrouck 1991 for a sample of an analytic rating scale [pause].
And the sample IEP goal reads, "Using word prediction software and a graphic organizer,
Jeremy will write a multiple paragraph essay on an informational topic achieving a score of 9
or better on a focus-weighted rubric for 3 out of 4 bi-weekly writing assignments" [pause].
When we assess content in student writing, we should also be evaluating the degree
to which the student's writing aligns to specific text structure styles and conventions.
For example, we know that writing a narrative story is very different
from writing a persuasive essay.
We can develop checklists of these critical elements and use our checklist
to assess alignment with text structure.
So for example, one text structure is cause and effect.
A checklist might include the students use of transition words such as cause, effect,
as a result, consequently, so, so that, because of, since, in order to, are used, etcetera.
And the sample IEP goal reads, "Given a written assignment at his current grade level.
The student will improve the ability to show how one or more causes led to one or more effects
from a checklist score of 2 -- which is basic -- to a checklist score of 3 which is proficient,
on 2 out of 3 written assignments aligned with the cause and effect.
[ Pause ]
Penmanship or handwriting is also important to assess, particularly the early grades.
We can assess spacing, letter size, alignment, line quality,
letter slant, and letter formation.
Again I'll let you read the sample IEP goal independently.
[ Pause ]
Finally we can assess student knowledge of the writing process itself.
For example, is the student able to demonstrate an understanding of the writing process itself
through application of critical steps and procedures?
Can the student apply this knowledge to their own writing or a peer sample?
Can the student articulate the critical steps and procedures?
The sample IEP goal reads, "Jill will accurately complete a graphic organizer
that includes main ideas and relevant details on 3 out of 4 weekly prompts.
Using spellchecking features on a computer, the student will locate and correct 100%
of all errors on 4 out of 5 of his or her own writing assignments [pause].
So we just reviewed many methods that are available
to analyze student writing performance.
And inform IEP goals.
Ultimately the specific methods that you choose should be based
on 1) The purpose of your assessment.
What do you want to measure and why.
2) Your expectations for writing performance.
3) The degree to which your measure will inform your instruction
and intervention for the student [pause].
This is just a quick review of the recommended frequency of formative assessment
or progress monitoring that's recommended based upon varying levels of student performance.
Note that survey level assessment is done only when there's a reason to do it.
It is not done on a specific schedule.
I think most of you are pretty familiar with those recommendations [pause].
As you know, IEP goals and objectives should address the condition, which is the situation
in which the student will perform the behavior.
The student's name.
A behavior that is clearly defined.
And performance criteria which is comprised of three parts.
The criterion level.
The number of times the student performs the behavior and the evaluation schedule --
how often the student will be assessed [pause].
Now let's talk more specifically about written expression;
curriculum-based measurement [pause].
Writing CBM includes total words written.
Words spelled correctly.
And correct writing sequences.
As you may know, CBM in writing can be conducted class or school-wide.
The following slides feature examples of primary, intermediate,
and advanced story starters for CBM writing prompts.
And these of course are the primary story starters or examples of primary story starters.
I'll just give you a minute to review those.
[ Pause ]
These are intermediate level story starters.
[ Pause ]
And these are advanced story starters.
[ Pause ]
Following student response to a given story starter or prompt,
we should calculate total words written.
Let's quickly review the scoring roles associated with total words written.
Total words written is the total number of words written, regardless of spelling,
or whether the word student produces is accurate within context.
Abbreviations, hyphenated words, and story titles are all included.
[ Pause ]
When calculating total words written, you must underline each word written.
A word is defined as a single letter or group of letters separated by a space.
Please take a minute or two to look at these examples
and the TWW for each sentence or phrase.
[ Pause ]
Now let's review words spelled correctly.
A word is spelled correctly if it can stand alone in the English language.
Contextual clarity is not an issue with words spelled correctly [pause].
As you can see, all incorrectly spelled words are circled.
Notice that the word reed, R-E-E-D, is not circled
and is actually considered correct even though it was misspelled,
given the context of how the word was used in the sentence.
If a word can stand alone in the English language,
it is counted as a word that is spelled correctly.
[ Pause ]
Correct writing sequences are 2 adjacent writing units defined as word/word
or word/punctuation that are acceptable in context.
So unlike words spelled correctly, when you are scoring the number
of correct writing sequences, context does matter.
Correct spelling, syntax, and semantics also matter.
[ Pause ]
I'm going to let you review this slide, and then we will give you some time to practice scoring.
[ Pause ]
So just remember that the direction of the carrots are important
in that they differentiate correct writing sequence --
a correct unit versus an incorrect writing sequence or unit [pause].
Let's spend the next 3 to 5 minutes calculating total words written.
Words spelled correctly.
And correct writing sequences for this second grade student's written response,
and then we'll refer back to the scoring rules as we need to.
[ Pause ]
Now that we have covered various assessment practices, we're going to review examples
of evidence-based instructional practices.
[ Pause ]
This list of recommendations is based on scientific studies of students in grades 4
through 12, and comes from the book by Steven Graham, Charles MacArthur, and Jill Fitzgerald,
entitled "Best Practices in Writing Instruction".
The strategies for teaching writing are listed according to effect size,
or the magnitude of their impact on writing skill development.
Practices with the strongest effects are listed first, however,
all these strategies are potentially useful,
particularly when teachers use a combination of them [pause].
The most impactful thing teachers can do is explicitly teach students strategies
for planning, revising, and editing their written work.
When students are taught to plan, draft, and revise in a self-regulated fashion,
their writing improves a great deal.
Secondly, teachers should explicitly teach students procedures
for summarizing what they read.
Because it allows students to practice concise, clear writing that conveys an accurate message
of the main ideas of a text [pause].
Thirdly, allow students to work together to plan, write, edit, and revise their writing.
And provide a structure for cooperative writing, where are the explicit expectations
for individual performance, within their cooperative groups or partnerships.
Setting goals for student writing, such as adding more ideas, or in an opinion essay,
asking students to include at least 3 reasons supporting their beliefs is also a high-leverage
Number 5, allow students to use a computer.
Number 6, teach sentence combining skills.
Again, model how to combine 2 or more related sentences to create a more complex sentence,
while applying sentence construction skills at the same time [pause].
Number 7, using the process writing approach, students have extended opportunities to plan,
write, and review their compositions [pause].
Have students participate in inquiry activities for writing
that include establishing a clear goal for writing, observation,
and translation of what was learned [pause].
Involve students in pre-writing activities that help them produce and organize their ideas.
And then lastly, provide models of good writing that you expect your students to produce.
Analyze those models with students, and expect students to compare their own writing
with effective elements shown in the models [pause].
As mentioned previously, students benefit significantly when they are taught strategies
for planning, revising, and editing their compositions.
Here's an example from Dayla Pause [phonetic],
with 8th graders representing a full range of abilities.
So I'm going to review the steps with you.
First the ELA and SS teachers collaborate.
The SS teacher helps students learn to recognize and reconcile conflicting points
of view related to westward expansion.
The LA teacher teaches students how to write persuasive essays.
The students then write in journals, first about how to persuade a peer
or parent about a particular topic.
They then review an essay presenting a point of view concerning voting rights for 10th graders.
And then the students are taught 2 mnemonics.
STOP -- which stands for suspend judgment.
Take a side.
And plan as you write.
And DARE. Develop a topic sentence.
Add supporting ideas.
Reject an argument on the other side.
And then End with a conclusion.
After step 6, the LA teacher then goes on to present the structure
of a 5 paragraph persuasive essay on a historical topic
and show students essays arguing different views on this topic.
The teacher then models planning and writing paragraphs of a persuasive essay
on a topic related to westward expansion, using the STOP and DARE strategies.
Students work in small groups to plan a persuasive essay
on another westward expansion topic.
This process occurred over a course of 10 to 12 days in SS and ELA classes.
The instructional materials included historical text on westward expansion [pause].
In addition to being taught strategies for planning, revising, and editing,
students need to be explicitly taught procedures for summarizing what they read.
Summarization allows students to practice concise,
clear writing to convey an accurate message of the main ideas in a text.
This example on steps from Bean and Steinwick [phonetic] were taught
to 6th graders representing a full range of ability
over 12 25-30 minute periods over the course of 5 weeks.
Instructional materials included paragraphs on a range of topics
from a published reading skills instructional package [pause].
And I'll just give you a minute or two to read those steps.
[ Pause ]
According to "Writing Next", grammar instruction can be beneficial if it focuses on function.
Meaning that grammar instruction emphasizes the role of words
and their arrangement to convey meaning.
The focus of traditional grammar instruction was not on function.
Analysis of sentences at the micro-level, like who, what, when, how many, etcetera,
is akin to helping students with basic comprehension.
Because you're asking students to break down text.
Interact with text.
And parse the language into meaningful phrases in order to help them better understand it.
So instructional attention to sentence level construction is essential
as a step towards helping students access and understand increasingly complex tasks.
[ Pause ]
The arrangement of words in sentences lets us determine who is doing what to whom.
The cat chased the dog versus the dog chased the cat.
This context is required to understand the meaning, form,
roles, and relationships of words.
Understanding the basic structure of a sentence is the foundation
for understanding grammar and syntax.
The basic elements of the sentence, subject, and predicate,
allow us to compose an unlimited number of sentences.
Once students understand the functions of sentence parts, the words role or job,
accurate labeling of the grammatical components becomes easier [pause].
Some manipulative sentence strips are paper strips that paired
with meta-cognitive guiding questions which cue the student
to build a sentence based upon the question words.
Who or what identify a person, place, thing, or idea.
Where elicits a word or phrases indicating location.
Consider the following science example.
Teachers begin by asking students questions that will generate the base sentence.
[ Pause ]
Then additional questions help students expand the base sentence.
Not every question needs to be answered.
[ Pause ]
These are additional questions.
Using each of these manipulative pieces, students can arrange the words and phrases
to compose sentences and can vary the syntax or word sequence.
Once they are arranged, students can compare the meaning of these various configurations.
How are they similar?
How are they different?
So for example, water vapor from evaporation condenses
at cooler temperatures in the atmosphere.
At cooler temperatures, water vapor from evaporation condenses in the atmosphere.
Are these sentences communicating the same thing?
[ Pause ]
Through manipulation of sentence parts, students learn to recognize the changes in meaning
that can occur when we vary the order of words and phrases.
Through a manipulation sentence parts, students become more proficient
at producing sentences of increased complexity.
And they also get better processing complex sentences while listening or reading [pause].
I included this slide, or the next 2 slides
because the Understanding Language District Engagement Subcommittee has released a set
of 6 key principals to support ELL's
in meeting the rigorous grade level academic standards found in PA Core
and Common Core state standards as well as next generation science standards.
These principals are meant to guide teachers, coaches, ESL specialists, curriculum leaders,
school principals and district administrators as they work to implement PA core standards
and align instruction for English language learners.
These principals though are applicable to any type of instruction and population,
regardless of grade level, proficiency level, or program type.
[ Pause ]
And these are 3 additional principals.
[ Pause ]
As you know, students must be given ample time to write.
And weak writers will need additional time and more individualized support.
The current estimate in classrooms across the country is
that we could easily quadruple the amount of time that we have students engaged
in writing practices across content areas.
Consistent with the Danielson Teaching Framework,
have students set goals for their writing and learning.
Have students monitor and evaluate their successes in meeting the goals.
And set students up to self-reinforce their learning and writing,
so they become increasingly proficient and self-regulated readers and writers [pause].
Finally, I have included some references that were used to develop this training.
And certainly hope that this has been helpful to you.
Again, please feel free to submit your questions in email when you're prompted,
and we will respond to you as soon as we can.
Enjoy your holiday and be safe, and thank you very much for joining us.