National Writing Project

Evaluating IIMPaC: Teacher and Student Outcomes Through a Professional Development Program in the Teaching of Writing

By: Sheridan Blau, Rosemary H. Cabe, Anne Elrod Whitney
Date: October 27, 2011

Summary: This study examined the effects of IIMPaC, a professional development program put on by California's South Coast Writing Project, which focuses on the teaching of writing. The study features eight language arts teachers of grades 4-8 and their students, and how the program impacted students' writing performance.


Excerpt from Report

For the overwhelming majority of teachers in the comparison group, proofreading, rather than more substantive revising, was a central concern. Four out of six comparison teachers used the terms "revision" and "editing" interchangeably or never mentioned revision. The emphasis in all of the comparison classrooms was on preparing a draft for a reader by removing errors rather than by clarifying ideas or adding information. In contrast, in the program group students were encouraged to make substantive changes to texts and to revise their writing to be as clear and communicative as possible in addition to technically correct.

One program teacher commented, "I use different methods [to teach revision]; it's the hardest thing. I especially try to reinforce the need to reread their writing. How does it sound? I try to show them that we think about what we write after we write it. I also use checklists and rubrics to help them. I also have them do pair reading of their own work. They have to learn that writing is communication; it's supposed to make sense."

Strategies like these follow directly from the content of the IIMPaC program (see appendix A for examples of revision-focused lessons), which treats revision and editing as discrete activities, revision being about ideas and communication and editing being about correctness.

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