Writing is often difficult for educators to teach, challenging for students to do, and hard for administrators to monitor and evaluate. Yet writing well—and the high-quality writing instruction behind it–has become an increasingly important 21st century skill due to online college and job applications, as well as the reliance on email and collaborative documents in many 21st century careers.
Ways to compile and use data to guide writing instruction were explained during an edWebinar sponsored by Texthelp, which featured Joni Degner and Mark Schwartz, a Director and a Product Evangelist for Texthelp. The software automates and accelerates many aspects of the writing-evaluation process, though each teacher’s grading and feedback also remain crucial parts of the process.
Degner emphasized that data about writing should not just be used to inform teachers’ interactions with students, it should also play an important role in the ongoing professional learning and evaluation of instruction across grades and schools.
Compiling and using data about writing instruction
As with other forms of data, the goals with writing instruction data are to identify and amplify what is working well, and improve areas of weakness. These goals can be especially challenging to achieve with writing, however, because much of the evaluation that takes place has traditionally been subjective and key aspects of writing can be difficult to quantify.