Volume 42, Issue 3 (2013)
The Common Core State Standards and Evidence-Based Educational Practices: The Case of Writing
Gary A. Troia & Natalia G. Olinghouse
Abstract. Although writing plays an important role in the academic, psychosocial, and economic success of individuals, typical writing instruction and assessment in the United States generally does not reflect evidence-based practices. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) place a great deal of emphasis on written expression and may encourage an increased focus on writing in schools and help to positively shape the practices of educators. In this article, we summarize a theoretically grounded content analysis of the writing and language standards of the CCSS to identify apparent strengths and limitations in the standards. We also note the degree to which the CCSS may support the adoption of evidence-based practices for writing instruction and assessment by teachers based on the content. The CCSS for writing and language appear to be succinct and balanced with respect to the content addressed, but some aspects of writing are not covered well (e.g., spelling) or at all (e.g., motivation). Out of 36 evidence-based writing instruction and assessment practices, the CCSS signal less than half of these in any given grade, suggesting that practitioners will need to consult other resources to acquire knowledge about such practices and how to exploit them to facilitate students’ attainment of the standards. Finally, we recommend ways in which school psychologists can function as a valuable resource for teachers and schools in their efforts to deploy evidence-based practices, especially for students who struggle with writing.
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