National Writing Project

National Writing Project to Develop the Civically Engaged Writing Analysis Continuum

For Immediate Release


Berkeley, CA & Washington, D.C., May 15, 2015 — Today's academic standards emphasize the importance of assessing young people's ability to write evidence-based arguments as they engage in the digital world and prepare for college, career, and lifelong civic engagement. Through a new research grant, the National Writing Project (NWP) will develop the Civically Engaged Writing Analysis Continuum (CEWAC), a writing rubric that will assess youth's ability to engage in argument, critique and use evidence, enter productive civic conversations, and take action both in and out of school.

The two-year project is funded by a $399,736 grant from the Spencer Foundation .

"This project builds on NWP's many years of work with teachers and researchers developing a rigorous system for assessing writing that also informs classroom teaching," said Linda Friedrich, Director of Research at the National Writing Project and Principal Investigator for the project. "Civically Engaged Writing Analysis Continuum: Demonstrating Engaged Citizenship Through Writing is a terrific opportunity to provide new tools for assessing the impact of civic education programs. More importantly, the project will support teachers in creating opportunities for youth to analyze, write about, and engage with important public issues."

"We are so pleased to be able to support this exciting work," said Diana Hess, Vice President of the Spencer Foundation. "The NWP will be building an innovative and much-needed bridge that integrates concern for the development of civic and literary capacities. Not only will it help those focused on assessment; like all good assessments, it will also help educators clarify and reflect on their educational priorities."

Following the two-year grant period, NWP and its partners will draw on their extensive networks to engage teachers in professional development focused on shaping assignments, assessing students' writing, and articulating expectations for youth's civic engagement.


Through its mission, the National Writing Project (NWP) focuses the knowledge, expertise, and leadership of our nation's educators on sustained efforts to improve writing and learning. Writing in its many forms is the signature means of communication in the 21st century. The NWP envisions a future where every person is an accomplished writer, engaged learner, and active participant in a digital, interconnected world. Located on nearly 200 university and college campuses, NWP works in partnership with K-12 schools, libraries, museums, after-school programs, and local Writing Project sites to provide high-quality, sustained professional development for 100,000 teachers a year. Through its many successful programs and partnerships, the organization reaches 1.4 million Pre-K through college-age students in over 3,000 schools districts annually.

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