Analyzing student work for actionable trends in literacy
Teachers and leaders are spending more time than ever focused on improving student writing. But in order to develop strong writers, we need to have a clear picture of our students as readers, too
Teachers and leaders are spending more time than ever focused on improving student writing. But in order to develop strong writers, we need to have a clear picture of our students as readers, too. Written responses to a text-based prompt offer a window into students’ writing skills as well as their reading comprehension. After all, if students are unable to understand what they read in a novel or article, it’s a safe bet that they’ll struggle to put their ideas into writing.
We’ve created an efficient and effective protocol to guide teachers’ analysis of student writing. By organizing student work along a progression of learning that includes both reading comprehension and writing skills, we can identify trends and devise targeted instructional strategies to give students the support they need to be successful. Use this protocol on your own or with your team to analyze student work. All you need is a standards-aligned writing prompt from a literacy lesson or formative assessment, reading and writing standards, and a cross-section of student work that represents students at various points along the path to mastery of the standards.
Watch this video of Marcelino Trillo, vice-principal at Robert Treat Academy in Newark, NJ, talk through how he and his team learned the importance of considering students’ reading comprehension alongside their writing, in order to better understand where students struggled.
We gathered student work for a 4th grade literacy task. Included in the set is the writing prompt and related standards, the text, student work samples, and an analysis of the student work along with possible next steps from our Common Core team. You can use these sets to practice, or look at the annotations and next steps as an example.