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The instructional practices of teachers who score a state writing assessment: A case study

Susan Lee Anderson, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The merits and shortcomings of formalized assessments of student writing have been debated by critics who maintain they are not valid measures of writing proficiency, often result in a narrowing effect on the local school curriculum and elicit predictable or formulaic writing by students and by proponents who argue they help to inform teacher expectations for student writing and when they are scored by teachers may inform teachers' instructional practices. This study sought to understand the instructional strategies for teaching writing of three high school English teachers who participated in the scoring of a state writing assessment and their motivations for participating. ^ Interviews and classroom observations were used to collect the data from informants. Informants were interviewed about the ways they teach writing, their beliefs about teaching writing, their experiences participating in the state writing test scoring, and their beliefs about the state writing test. Classroom observations provided a context and a validation for information shared by informants during the interviews. ^ The interview data were coded for the purpose of identifying major themes unique to each informant and common across all informants. The major themes common across all informants included: student writing experiences and expectations, instructional strategies, beliefs about teaching and writing, school district response to improving student writing, school district response to the state writing test, and informants' beliefs about the state writing test, and participation in the scoring of the state test. The interview transcripts and coding schemes were audited for validation purposes. ^ Informants' motivations for participation in the scoring of the state writing assessment included wanting to learn more about the expectations for student writing. Other results describe teacher beliefs about teaching and their school districts' responses to the improvement of student writing. Future recommendations for research include investigating the instructional practices for writing of teachers at other assessed grade levels who have participated in the scoring and of teachers who have not participated in the scoring of a state assessment. ^

Subject Area

Education, Tests and Measurements|Language, Rhetoric and Composition|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Anderson, Susan Lee, "The instructional practices of teachers who score a state writing assessment: A case study" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3378539.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3378539

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