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Faculty changes in attitude and practice after one district's two-year focus on writing across the curriculum

15 August 2000


Writing across the curriculum is a trend in education that first began almost thirty years ago. Now, thousands of universities and K-12 schools practice this philosophy of having students learn through writing in all of the content areas - not just in language arts classes. The purpose of this research is to examine the effectiveness of a public school district's recently implemented writing across the curriculum program at the end of its second year. Studied most closely is the staff development meant to prepare the teachers to use writing across the curriculum in their classrooms. Several types of data are collected for this study. Observations come from a variety of staff development situations. Additionally, teacher interviews and surveys provide personal perspectives. Finally, student writing is measured for improvement over a three year period, as data from state writing assessments is analyzed. All of these pieces together allow a detailed look from a variety of angles at the past two years of staff development in the area of writing across the curriculum. Research suggests that the most important part of successfully implementing any new curriculum program is achieving teacher buy-in of the philosophy behind it. Secondly, administrative support is a must, or else the program has a good chance of quickly fizzling out. The research recommends that the school district focus more thoroughly on both of these areas in the upcoming year of staff development in order to make the writing across the curriculum program successful.


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