Sunday, May 8, 2016

Writing the Shadow of CCSS

Deligencia, Nick

CA-Effects of Common Core

Sundeen Todd H. (2015). Writing Instruction for Adolescents in the Shadow of the Common Core State Standards. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 59(2), 197–206. doi: 10.1002/jaal.444

CCSS requires more writing and for varied purposes.  Writing is a valuable skill for employment and beyond, and the process of writing requires higher order thinking skills.  This makes writing good for short- and long- term learning.  Unfortunately, only about 25% of students write at or beyond proficient levels, and although there is an increased call to improve student writing skills, it is typically not on the forefront of education reform efforts.  For example, researchers have determined that CCSS “does not include a focus on teacher feedback for older students” and uncovered a lack of specific strategies for planning, drafting, revising, and editing.

Additionally, a distinction can/should be made between writing and composition.  Typical writing assignments in secondary schools include short answer responses, worksheets, and summaries.  There are few (usually 1 or 2 per year) assignments that are longer than about a page (such as a “five paragraph essay”).  Compositions are longer expressions of persuasion, argumentation, synthesis or evaluation.

Highly recommend the “Take Action” section, moderately recommend the entire article

As is typical for this journal, there is real value in the “Take Action” of the feature articles.  The author provides five suggestions for those answering the challenge in their schools: (1) provide composition preparation strategies, (2) provide ample practice opportunities, (3) increase peer collaboration as part of the process, (4) use rubrics as part of the instructional phase, not just the evaluation phase, and (5) support struggling readers with “self-regulated strategies development” (SRSD).  A link to gives more information and materials about SRSD.

Teacher Librarians are asked to fill many roles within their schools, and model lessons that support writing and composition are common among them.  While this article focuses on an ELA perspective, it provides sufficient description of elements of a comprehensive writing program that can help a TL coordinate a school’s efforts to improve student learning.

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