Professional Development and High-Stakes Testing

Disparate Influences on Student Writing Performance

Authors

  • Candace Roberts Saint Leo University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.v1i1.63

Keywords:

professional development, high stakes testing, writing

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of professional development at a site of the National Writing Project (the Tampa Bay Area Writing Project), on student writing achievement. Student writing samples were collected at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year from 22 classes of students in grades 3-12. Statistical analysis, using Repeated Measures ANOVA, of a stratified random sample of papers from each class, revealed significant differences between students in classrooms of writing project trained teachers and students in classrooms of closely matched control group teachers, with students in treatment group classrooms demonstrating higher writing achievement at the end of the year. Effect sizes for the treatment group were consistently higher than those of the control group. Significant differences were not in evidence until April, two months after the state writing assessment, following which the teachers had changed their practices from a prior focus on test preparation. Results from statistical analysis and teacher interviews suggest that the pressures and requirements which educators and legislators believe will improve writing performance may actually impede teachers from doing their best work, and consequently, the students from achieving their best writing performance.

Author Biography

Candace Roberts, Saint Leo University

Dr. Candace Roberts is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education at Saint Leo University. She received her doctorate in curriculum and instruction and her Masters’ degree in English Education from the University of South Florida and her bachelor’s degree in English from Emory University. Her research interests include writing pedagogy, pre-service and beginning teacher development, and Classroom Management.

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Published

2010-01-16

How to Cite

Roberts, C. (2010). Professional Development and High-Stakes Testing: Disparate Influences on Student Writing Performance. Writing and Pedagogy, 1(1), 63-88. https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.v1i1.63

Issue

Section

Research Matters