Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New approach urged for 'abysmal' K-12 writing instruction

Date:
October 11, 2013
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Writing instruction in US classrooms is "abysmal" and the Common Core State Standards don't go far enough to address glaring gaps for students and teachers, an education scholar argues.

Writing instruction in U.S. classrooms is "abysmal" and the Common Core State Standards don't go far enough to address glaring gaps for students and teachers, a Michigan State University education scholar argues.

In a new study, Gary Troia calls for a fresh approach to professional development for teachers who must help students meet the new writing standards. His research, funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences, appears in the journal School Psychology Review.

"We need to re-orient the way we think about teacher professional development," said Troia, associate professor in MSU's College of Education. "We need to be smarter about professional development and make sure it's comprehensive, sustained and focused on the needs in the classroom."

The Common Core standards aim to improve U.S. student performance in mathematics and English language arts, which include writing. The standards have been adopted by 45 states and are in various phases of being rolled out for implementation.

While the standards are strong in some areas of writing instruction, they are weak in many others, Troia said. For example, spelling and handwriting are not addressed comprehensively in early grades. Keyboarding is a focus only in grades 3 through 6, even though computers have become increasingly important throughout school and new assessments aligned with the Common Core will use computers. And the standards don't reinforce teaching of some writing genres useful in civic life and personal growth.

The stakes are high, Troia said, as only about a quarter of U.S. students are performing at a proficient level in writing.

"Federal efforts and research dollars tend to focus on reading, math and science, while writing is often left out in the cold," Troia said. "We're trying to point out that writing is really important and that we should focus more on writing so it's no longer the neglected 'R'."

Troia was referring to a groundbreaking 2003 report by the National Commission on Writing which argues that writing instruction has been shortchanged in K-12 schools and colleges and universities. Not much has changed since that report was released a decade ago, he said.

"When you look at writing instruction in the K-12 classroom, it's still pretty abysmal," he said. "Teachers are generally not adapting instruction for struggling writers and most students struggle with writing if you look at national test scores."

The Common Core was not designed to tell teachers how to help students meet its writing standards, Troia noted. Still, because many of the writing standards are new for most states -- or uncovered in current professional development -- classroom teachers will need to consult other educators and resources to acquire the needed knowledge, he said.

Troia recommends classroom teachers get help from school personnel who are familiar with research and research-based writing instruction and assessment practices such as special educators, school psychologists and speech-language pathologists.

"School psychologists and others can function as a valuable resource for teachers and schools in their efforts to deploy evidence-based practices, especially for students who struggle with writing," Troia said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. gary A. Troia, Natalia G. Olinghouse. The Common Core State Standards and Evidence-Based Educaitonal Practices: The Case of Writing. School Psychology Review, October 2013

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "New approach urged for 'abysmal' K-12 writing instruction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131011135330.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2013, October 11). New approach urged for 'abysmal' K-12 writing instruction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131011135330.htm
Michigan State University. "New approach urged for 'abysmal' K-12 writing instruction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131011135330.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins