About Writing

National Writing Project Offers High-Quality Writing Assessment Services

Summary: Over an eight-year period, the National Writing Project created and refined the Analytic Writing Continuum (AWC) Assessment System, originally based on the framework of the Six +1 Trait Writing Model (Bellamy, 2005), for research and instructional purposes. Unlike the holistic scores used in most large-scale writing assessments which offer...

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,...

Grammar—Comma—a New Beginning

Author: Mary Ehrenworth Summary: Teaching grammar through inquiry and seduction? In this piece, Mary Ehrenworth shares strategies for moving away from direct instruction (which seldom works) to making it possible for students to “have an apprenticeship relation with great authors, even at the sentence structure level.” By honoring diverse dialects...

Introduction: Why Digital Writing Matters

Author: National Writing Project, with Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, and Troy Hicks Summary: What does it mean to write digitally? What does it mean to be a teacher of writing in a digital age? In this introduction to the book, Because Digital Writing Matters, the authors provide an overview...

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...

Modernizing the Old School Essay

Authors: Rachel Bear, Mitchell Nobis, Carrie Nobis, Dawn Reed, Dirk Schulze Summary: How can we rethink writing instruction to support students in writing authentic pieces about real world issues that matter to them? How can we move beyond the “old school essay” and invite students to write compositions that reflect...

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...

On the Use of Metawriting to Learn Grammar and Mechanics

Author: Douglas James Joyce Summary: In this short article, the author proposes a strategy to support college composition students to develop an awareness of grammatical patterns underlying their writing including their errors. The article includes an assignment and student examples, and may be useful in discussions among high school teachers...

Collaborating to Write Dialogue

Author: Janis Cramer Summary: By engaging children in a collaborative workshop environment to help them learn to develop characters, consider word choice, and interweave dialogue and description, the author simultaneously helped her students to strengthen social and independent writing skills. Opportunities to perform their dialogues in front of the class...

Literacy in the Digital Age

Guests: Natalie Franzi, Steve Figurelli, Paul Oh, and Claire Rivero Summary: In this webinar representatives from the NWP, the Teaching Channel, and Student Achievement Partners discuss effective uses of digital literacy tools, arguing that our vision must evolve to incorporate a new approach to literacy instruction, one in which technology...