Writing Success Team

November 2, 2005  Minutes


Members present:   Stuber, Davis, Scarola, Holst, Kuhnhausen, Jrobertson, McKee, Langan, Harstad-Bell, Hoke, Bettencourt, Curtis, Bruni, Lary, and Young


Team split into groups by building to compile data for a Two Year Comparison and Trait Analysis of State Writing Tests.  ES and MS reviewed 04 and 05, while HS compared 03 and 04 since state data is not yet available.


Results of the analysis were:


1.  Strengths            voice, word choice                                 MS

                               voice, word choice                                 ES

                               voice, word choice, sentence fluency      HS


2.  Weaknesses:        conventions, organization                                      HS

                                 conventions, organization                                      ES

                                 conventions, organization, ideas/content                MS



            The following comments were made regarding the analysis:


  1. It would be helpful to see longitudinal data for each age group
  2. Conventions seem to be stressed.  SAT scores and international scores all show convention results are low and getting lower.  Cultural influences and internet influences were noted.
  3. Sentence fluency does not seem to be specifically covered in district Learner Outcomes (Los)
  4. The district Los will be reviewed in 2006=2007.  Los may reflect recommendations from the SSWT.  Q Should changes to the Los be a reaction to the state testing level; i.e. writing testing has not consistently measured the same grade level from year to year.
  5. Q How much emphasis should be put on conventions if state/national scores are low?  Is this a test validity issue?



Where do we go from here?

1.      Find a school district meeting or exceeding conventions for a comparative look at their Los and teaching strategies.

2.      Do we have common teaching strategies in CSD for teaching writing?

3.      Do  K-3 staff use scoring guides or are they aware of what they include?

4.      Are K-3 Los too simple?

5.      How did the state “do” in conventions?

6.      Would be nice for all teachers to see class sheets which break down each student and how they rated in each scoring category.

7.      Assessment scores per Los do not match up with the state.  Los too generalized.  Does group want to rewrite Los?

8.      Need more common planning time by content area.

9.      How do strengths in writing assist to “turn around” weaknesses.  How do we build on the strengths?  Voice and word choice have emotional attachment.

10.  Looking up research by Hillochs (SP).  Best practices in writing.


Next time:

            Group will review material from Mr. Young regarding best practices research.

            Group will review statewide data from high performing schools, especially in the area of conventions if Ms. Lary     can locate same.

            Group will begin to assimilate best practices and information from high performing schools.


Next meeting will be December 5th, Monday at 8:30 a.m. in the Board Room.


Total Meeting time:  3 hours