National Writing Project

Effects of NWP Teaching Strategies on Elementary Students’ Writing

By: David Morse, Richard L. Graves, Sherry Swain
Date: July 2007

Summary: This study documents a correlation between certain syntactic features in the writing of upper elementary school students and their scores on a state writing assessment and further demonstrates a correlation between students use of these positive features and their instruction by NWP-trained teachers.


Excerpt from Study

The correlations between prominent-feature scores and the holistic writing assessment scores as well as the correlations between prominent features and specific analytic writing traits underscore the relationship of prominent features to quality of writing. Furthermore, because the prominent features represent teachable writing strategies (as opposed to more abstract qualities such as a "sense of audience"), teachers can learn to guide their students to make use of positive prominent features in their writing. . . . Features such as dialogue, adverbial leads, cumulative sentences, asides to the reader, and striking words, to name a few, can and should become part of students' repertoire of writing tools for making their writing more effective.

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