ILS Research and Evaluation

Program Evaluations

Community Initiatives, Project FLITE/Even Start

As partner with Community School District 7 from 1997-2001 in the Even Start-funded Project FLITE, ILS staff designed and conducted the program's longitudinal evaluation. The evaluation resulted in five findings:

  • The power of shared learning. Program activities in FLITE promoted the notion that learning was not uni-directional (parents to children or staff to families), but reciprocal and shared among parents, children, and staff.
  • The value of multiple points of entry. Parents' first contact with a program component matched their initial needs and provided the support necessary to explore other program options as their needs changed. As a result, parents ventured further into their own and their children's learning.
  • The importance of supporting a range of literacy practice. Parents engaged in a wide variety of reading, writing, and talking activities for various purposes. Particular practices "took root" and became established within the families.
  • The impact of adults' educational progress on their children's learning and confidence. Our attention to adult learning resulted in parents' focused engagement with children, broadened opportunities for literacy learning, and deepening communication among family members.
  • Ongoing staff development. A sustained approach to staff development allowed for development of processes for formative evaluation. Blending staff development with program documentation allowed FLITE to consider participants' needs and educational practice throughout the four-year program.

New York City Writing Project, Improving the Teaching of Writing: Teacher and Student Outcomes

2004-2006.With funding from the U.S. Department of Education/National Writing Project (2004-2006), the Institute for Literacy Studies conducted a two-year study of the New York City Writing Project's (NYCWP) impact on a sample of high school teachers and their students. Findings from the first year of this research initiative indicated that NYCWP teacher-consultants play a pivotal role in improving teachers' classroom practices across the curriculum. The data also suggested that NYCWP practices have a positive impact on English-language learners, in particular, and student writing in general. A report on Year One findings from this Local Site Research Initiative is now available. Report [PDF]

The data from the second year of the study have been analyzed and a full report is expected by the end of 2006. Preliminary results generally support the findings from the previous year. In particular, the New York City Writing Project appeared to have a positive impact on teachers’ practices and their students’ performance. NYCWP teachers increasingly adopted a student-centered pedagogy as a means of developing students’ reflective thinking and conceptual understanding in a variety of subject areas. In addition, students of NYCWP teachers generally improved their performance on standardized writing prompts during the course of the study. As in Year One, this was particularly true for English language learners. In addition, students of teachers who had less than five years of teaching experience and at least two years of exposure to the NYCWP made considerable gains across writing prompt administrations.

2006-2007. An evaluation is now underway of the NYCWP’s effort to develop a high school in Queens, New York as a Writing Intensive School. In general, the study will address the extent to which 1) a partnership to create a Writing Intensive School is developed between the NYCWP and the school; 2) teachers’ attitudes about the use of writing change; 3) teachers’ classroom practices change; 4) there is a change in students’ attitudes, knowledge, and performance in relation to writing; and 5) teachers’ involvement in NYCWP’s program is related to their students’ writing performance.

New York City Writing Project, Annual Evaluation of Inservice Program

The NYCWP conducts an annual evaluation of its inservice program in order to understand its impact on teachers and administrators in New York City public schools. Methods include interviews, surveys, and participant evaluations of seminars, study groups, and workshop series. These instruments were developed and revised by NYCWP directors and staff in consultation with experts in research and evaluation at the CUNY Graduate Center and the National Writing Project. The data are tabulated and analyzed each year by a researcher from the Graduate Center, who provides us with an annual report. Surveys ask participating teachers to assess the NYCWP's impact on their classroom practices (including specific writing strategies they used to meet stated literacy goals) and student outcomes. In 2002, 180 teachers responded to the survey; 204 teachers responded in 2003. Analysis of the data for the years 2002 and 2003 reveals consistent results. More than 95% of participating teachers report that their work with the NYCWP:

  • added to their knowledge about and ability to introduce specific strategies for writing.
  • assisted them in using a variety of writing strategies with more frequency and for more purposes, including development of student reading.
  • helped them prepare their students for the ELA or other Regents exams.
  • increased their own comfort with and enthusiasm for the teaching of writing.

In addition, 85% of surveyed teachers identified the NYCWP teacher-consultants' on-site work as extremely important: 15% identified the teacher-consultant's role as somewhat important.

New York City Writing Project, New Teacher Initiative

In 2002, with funding from the NWP/Stone Foundation, the New York City Writing Project designed a three-year initiative to support new teachers and conduct an inquiry into the unique needs of this group. Though the Writing Project had always worked with teachers at all levels of experience, the New Teacher Initiative (NTI) invited teachers in their vulnerable first, second, and third "induction" years to form a community across schools. The model included one-on-one support for each new teacher through an on-site teacher-consultant mentor, regular meetings in which all the new teachers and consultants came together from across the city to write and talk, and a new teacher listserv. Two core questions guided the internal evaluation of this effort: How would encouraging the voices of novices and making them a part of a supportive community affect their self-definition and commitment as teachers? How might what they learned with the Writing Project translate into their work with students? Data from surveys, interviews, and listserv transcripts are being analyzed. A report will be available on this website in fall 2006.

Last modified: Nov 7, 2012

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