About Writing

Democracy, Struggle, and the Praxis of Assessment

Author: Tony Scott & Lil Brannon Summary: Invited to assist in restructuring the assessment practices of a college first-year writing program, Tony Scott and Lil Brannon examine the structure and ideology of the existing assessment system, exploring how it serves to preserve the status quo by providing seemingly objective proof...

Measuring Civic Writing: The Development and Validation of the Civically Engaged Writing Analysis Continuum

Author: Linda Friedrich and Scott Strother Summary: This article examines the conceptual underpinnings and development process of the Civically Engaged Writing Analysis Continuum (CEWAC), a tool developed by the National Writing Project for assessing youth’s civically engaged writing. It also makes the case for CEWAC as a powerful tool both...

Why I Write: To Awaken the Spirit in the Downtrodden

Author: Nnamdi Chukwuocha, Al Mills Summary: Poets and youth workers Al Mills and Nnamdi Chukwuocha answer the call to describe #WhyIWrite with a poem. The answer is inseparable from their community and the promise of the youth they work with.

Metaphors, Frames, and Fact (Checks) about the Common Core

Author: Anne Elrod Whitney and Patrick Shannon Summary: This article offers a critique of the Common Core State Standards by examining its political history and the controlling metaphors on which it is based. It would be of particular interest to a study group or as a resource in a professional...

Planning for Writing Instruction

Author: Mark Overmeyer Summary: In this brief tip from his book, When Writing Workshop Isn’t Working, Mark Overmeyer describes a process of collaborative backward planning that provides a scope and sequence for the year that meets district curriculum requirements, allows for the study of genres connected to various disciplines and...

Teaching Informed Argument for Solution-Oriented Citizenship

Author: Casey Olsen Summary: In this article, Casey Olsen, a high school teacher involved in the NWP’s College, Career, and Community Writers Program (C3WP), describes an approach to teaching argument that helps his students “develop understandings and skills that change the way they experience the conversations that surround them.” Olsen...

Because Digital Writing Matters: A Conversation with the Authors

Summary: The NWP book, Because Digital Writing Matters, examines what teachers, administrators, and parents can do to help schools meet the challenges of digital writing and to equip students with the communication skills they need to thrive in an information-rich, high-speed, high-tech culture. It provides a roadmap for teachers and...

Why I Write: Scientist Timothy Ferris on Writing to Learn

Author: Timothy Ferris Summary: Ferris explains that he writes as a way to learn science and describes the vital role that science has played in changing the world for the better. He discusses how writing for general audiences can help scientists to “clarify their own thinking, by obliging them to...

Book Review: The Testing Trap: How State Writing Assessments Control Learning

Author: Carl Nagin Summary: This review of George Hillocks’s 2002 book, The Testing Trap: How State Writing Assessments Control Learning, is still a relevant read, providing history and research connected to the issues involved in high stakes state writing tests. The review details the validity and reliability of such tests,...

Writing Across the Hidden Curriculum

Author: William Strong Summary: Pushing back against the “hidden curriculum” of school writing as teacher-centered and reductive, Strong asserts a model of student-centered writing to learn. This article explains the importance of writing across disciplines and gives practical examples of authentic content area writing skills. His 12-point description of the...