Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders


Date of this Version



the elementary school journal volume 115, number 4



2015 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved


To determine whether formative writing assessments that are directly tied to everyday classroom teaching and learn- ing enhance students’ writing performance, we conducted a meta-analysis of true and quasi-experiments conducted with students in grades 1 to 8. We found that feedback to students about writing from adults, peers, self, and com- puters statistically enhanced writing quality, yielding average weighted effect sizes of 0.87, 0.58, 0.62, and 0.38, respectively. We did not find, however, that teachers’ monitoring of students’ writing progress or implemen- tation of the 6 􏰑+ 1 Trait Writing model meaningfully enhanced students’ writing. The findings from this meta-analysis provide support for the use of formative writing assessments that provide feedback directly to students as part of everyday teaching and learning. We argue that such assessments should be used more fre- quently by teachers, and that they should play a stronger role in the Next-Generation Assessment Systems being developed by Smarter Balanced and PARCC.