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Experimental Study on the 6+1 Trait® Writing Model

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1 Experimental Study on the 6+1 Trait® Writing Model
Presented at the ASCD Annual Conference April 3, 2005 Dr. Michael Kozlow Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory Assessment Program Director

2 Agenda Overview the 6+1 Trait® Writing model and scoring rubrics
Strategies that support classroom implementation Research Study

3 What Makes ‘Good’ Writing?
Discussion What Makes ‘Good’ Writing?

4 The 6+1 Trait® Writing Model for Assessment and Instruction
1. Ideas Ideas are the heart of the message, the content of the piece, the main theme, together with the details that enrich and develop that theme. 2. Organization Organization is the internal structure, the thread of central meaning, the logical and sometimes intriguing pattern of ideas within a piece of writing. 3. Voice Voice is the magic and the wit, along with the feeling and conviction of the individual writer coming out through the words.

5 The 6+1 Trait® Writing Model for Assessment and Instruction
4. Word Choice Word choice is the use of rich, colorful, precise language that moves and enlightens the reader. 5. Sentence Fluency Sentence fluency is the rhythm and flow of the language, the sound of word patterns, the way in which the writing plays to the ear—not just to the eye. 6. Conventions Conventions refer to the mechanical correctness of the piece—spelling, paragraphing, grammar and usage, punctuation, and use of capitals.

6 The 6+1 Trait® Writing Model for Assessment and Instruction
+1. Presentation Presentation zeros in on the form and layout of the text and its readability; the piece should be pleasing to the eye.

7 The 6+1 Trait® Writing Scoring Continuum
Wow! Exceeds expectations Strong Shows control and skill in this trait; many strengths present Effective On balance, the strengths outweigh the weaknesses; a small amount of revision is needed Developing Strengths and need for revision are about equal; about half-way home Emerging Need for revision outweighs strengths; isolated moments hint at what the writer has in mind Not Yet A bare beginning; writer not yet showing control Ideas Organization Voice Word Choice Sentence Fluency Conventions Presentation

8 6+1 Trait® Writing Rubric Ideas
Key Question: Did the writer stay focused and share original and fresh information or perspective about the topic? Ideas: The heart of the message, the content of the piece, the main theme, with details that enrich and develop that theme This paper is clear and focused. It holds the reader’s attention. Relevant anecdotes and details enrich the central theme The topic is narrow and manageable Relevant, telling, quality details go beyond the obvious Reasonably accurate details Writing from knowledge or experience; ideas are fresh and original Reader’s questions are anticipated and answered Insight The writer is beginning to define the topic, even though development is still basic or general The topic is fairly broad Support is attempted Ideas are reasonably clear Writer has difficulty going from general observations to specifics The reader is left with questions The writer stays on topic The paper has no clear sense of purpose or central theme. The reader must make inferences based on sketchy or missing details The writer is still in search of a topic Information is limited or unclear or the length is not adequate for development The idea is a simple statement or a simple answer to the question The writer has not begun to define the topic Everything seems as important as everything else The text may be repetitious, disconnected, and contains too many random thoughts

9 6+1 Trait® Writing Rubric Organization
Key Question: Does the organizational structure enhance the ideas and make it easier to read? Organization: The internal structure, the thread of central meaning, the logical and sometimes intriguing pattern of ideas. The organizational structure of this paper enhances and showcases the central idea or theme of the paper; includes a satisfying introduction and conclusion An inviting introduction draws the reader in; a satisfying conclusion leaves the reader with a sense of closure and resolution Thoughtful transitions Sequencing is logical and effective Pacing is well controlled The title, if desired, is original Flows so smoothly, the reader hardly thinks about it The organizational structure is strong enough to move the reader through the text without too much confusion The paper has a recognizable introduction and conclusion Transitions often work well Sequencing shows some logic, yet structure takes attention away from content Pacing is fairly well controlled Organization sometimes supports the main point or storyline A title (if desired) is present The writing lacks a clear sense of direction No real lead Connections between ideas are confusing Sequencing needs work Pacing feels awkward No title is present (if requested) Problems with organization make it hard for the reader to get a grip on the main point or storyline

10 6+1 Trait® Writing Rubric Voice
Key Question: Would you keep reading this piece if it were longer? MUCH longer? Voice: The unique perspective of the writer coming through in the piece through honesty, conviction, integrity, and believability The writer of this paper speaks directly to the reader in a manner that is individual, compelling, and respects the purpose and audience for the writing. Adds interest; appropriate of purpose and audience The reader feels a strong interaction with the writer The writer takes a risk Expository or persuasive reflects understanding and commitment to topic Narrative writing seems honest, personal, and engaging The writer seems sincere but not fully engaged or involved. The result is pleasant or even personable, but not compelling. Obvious generalities Earnest, pleasing, safe writing The voice fades in and out Expository or persuasive writing lacks consistent engagement Narrative writing is reasonably sincere The writer seems indifferent, uninvolved, or distanced from the topic and/or the audience. No concern with audience Monotone Hum-drum and risk-free Lifeless or mechanical No point of view is present

11 6+1 Trait® Writing Rubric Word Choice
Key Question: Do the words and phrases create vivid pictures and linger in your mind? Word Choice: The use of rich, colorful, precise language that moves and enlightens the reader Words convey the intended message in a precise, interesting, and natural way Words are specific and accurate Striking words and phrases Natural, effective, and appropriate language Lively verbs, specific nouns and modifiers Language enhances and clarifies meaning The language is functional, even if it lacks much energy Words are adequate and correct in a general sense Familiar words and phrases communicate Attempts at colorful language Passive verbs, everyday nouns, mundane modifiers Functional with one or two fine moments Occasionally, the words show refinement and precision The writer struggles with a limited vocabulary Words are nonspecific or distracting Many of the words don’t work Language is used incorrectly Limited vocabulary, misuse of parts of speech Words and phrases are unimaginative and lifeless Jargon or clichés, persistent redundancy

12 6+1 Trait® Writing Rubric Sentence Fluency
Key Question: Can you FEEL the words and phrases flow together as you read it aloud? Sentence Fluency: The rhythm and flow of the language, the sound of word patterns, the way in which the writing plays to the ear—not just to the eye The writing has an easy flow, rhythm and cadence. Sentences are well built. Sentences enhance the meaning. Sentences vary in length as well as structure. Purposeful and varied sentence beginnings. Creative and appropriate connectives. The writing has cadence. The text hums along with a steady beat, but tends to be more pleasant or businesslike than musical. Sentences get the job done in a routine fashion. Sentences are usually constructed correctly. Sentence beginnings are not ALL alike; some variety is attempted. The reader sometimes has to hunt for clues. Parts of the text invite expressive oral reading; others may be stiff, awkward, choppy, or gangly. The reader has to practice quite a bit in order to give this paper a fair interpretive reading. Sentences are choppy, incomplete, rambling, or awkward. Phrasing does not sound natural. No “sentence sense” present. Sentences begin the same way. Endless connectives. Does not invite expressive oral reading.

13 6+1 Trait® Writing Rubric Conventions
Key Question: How much editing would have to be done to be ready to share with an outside source? A whole lot? Score in the 1– range. A moderate amount? Score in the 3 range. Very little? Score in the –5 range. Conventions: The mechanical correctness of the piece; spelling, grammar, and usage, paragraphing, use of capitals, and punctuation* The writer demonstrates a good grasp of standard writing conventions (e.g., spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, usage, paragraphing) Spelling is generally correct Punctuation is accurate Capitalization skills are present Grammar and usage are correct Paragraphing tends to be sound The writer may manipulate conventions for stylistic effect; and it works! The writer shows reasonable control over a limited range of standard writing conventions Spelling is usually correct or reasonably phonetic on common words End punctuation is usually correct Most words are capitalized correctly Problems with grammar and usage are not serious Paragraphing is attempted Moderate (a little of this, a little of that) editing Errors in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, usage and grammar, and/or paragraphing repeatedly distract the reader and make text difficult to read Spelling errors are frequent Punctuation missing or incorrect Capitalization is random Errors in grammar or usage are very noticeable Paragraphing is missing The reader must read once to decode, then again for meaning * Grades 7 and Up Only: The writing is sufficiently complex to allow the writer to show skill in using a wide range of conventions


15 Ten Strategies To Teach Writing
1. TEACH STUDENTS THE LANGUAGE they need to speak and think like writers. 2. READ, SCORE, AND JUSTIFY your scores on anonymous sample papers. 3. PRACTICE and rehearse focused REVISION strategies by: Working with a partner or small group Working on an anonymous sample Revising for one trait at a time 4. WRITE! Yes, WRITE—this means you! Write along with your students. Take a risk and share your “works in progress” with them. Ask them for revising feedback. You’ll be amazed! 5. READ, READ, READ printed material of ALL kinds to illustrate strengths and weaknesses in writing. 6. R.A.F.T.S. (Role Audience, Format, Topic, Strong Verbs) CRAFT thoughtful, explicit WRITING PROMPTS CONNECT what students know and are learning TO VARIOUS MODES of writing 7. ACTIVITIES AND FOCUS LESSONS WEAVE focused trait SKILL LESSONS INTO YOUR CURRICULUM to enhance your writing program 8. GOAL SETTING AND MONITORING PROGRESS Teach students to set writing goals and continuously monitor their progress 9. CURRICULUM MAPPING Where do the Traits fit in your program? 10. PROFESSIONAL LEARNING TEAM: A Proven Model for Effective Instructional Improvement

16 Strategy 6— R.A.F.T.S. Writing Prompts
Role Audience Form Topic Strong Verb for Purpose

17 Designing R.A.F.T.S. Writing Assignments
Effective writing assignments enable students to write fluently and purposefully for an audience. R.A.F.T.S. can help teachers identify and incorporate the elements of an effective writing assignment. Role of the writer—helps the writer decide on point of view and voice Audience for the piece of writing—reminds the writer that he must communicate ideas to someone else; helps writer determine content and style Format of the material—helps the writer organize ideas and employ the conventions of format, such as letters, interviews and story problems Topic or subject of the piece of writing—helps the writer focus on main ideas Strong verb—directs the writer to the writing purpose, e.g., persuade, analyze, create, predict, compare, defend, evaluate

18 R.A.F.T.S. Classroom Prompts
R—Role A—Audience F—Format T—Topic S—Strong Verb EXAMPLE: You are Ulysses on your journey home from Troy after being (role) gone for over ten years. Write a letter to your wife Penelope (format) (audience) explaining why you won’t make it home for dinner, AGAIN. (strong verb) (topic)

19 R.A.F.T.S. Writing Prompt Example
Over the past few years, NASA has suffered a number of severe setbacks in its development of a viable manned space program. Persistent problems with the quality of equipment have caused the delay and even cancellation of some missions. And the tragic loss of two space shuttles and their crews has caused deep public concern about the safety of the organization’s procedures. These two circumstances have combined to create an atmosphere of distrust in the organization, and loss of confidence in the Congress that must approve the funds to keep the agency functioning. You are Carl Sagan, the cosmologist and writer. In a letter to the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, convince the Chairman that more funding needs to be provided for the manned exploration of space.

R—Role A—Audience F—Format T—Topic S—Strong Verb Write your own R.A.F.T.S. assignment here.

21 Forms of Writing for Assignments (An incomplete listing)
Advertisements Affidavits Analytical paragraphs/papers Anecdotes/stories Announcements Applications Bibliography annotations Biographical sketches Blurbs: TV lists/book covers Board games instructions Brochures Bumper stickers Captions Children’s Books Commentaries Comparison paragraphs/papers Computer programs Constitution articles Consumer guide or report Contest entries (25 words) Contrast paragraphs/papers Debate outlines/notes Declarations Definitions Dialogues Dictionary entries Directions: guide to places, how-to, survival manuals Editorials Encyclopedia entries Environmental impact reports Epitaphs Eulogies Expense accounts and defense Graffiti Greeting card or text Historical accounts Imaginative Literature: Fairy tales, myths, novels, plays Poems: Villanelle, Haiku, Sonnets Science Fiction Short stories Songs & ballads Story beginnings Indexes Instructions Internet Interviews (real/imaginary) Introduction Job specifics Journal entries

22 Forms of Writing for Assignments, continued (An incomplete listing)
Lab reports Last wills and testaments Legal briefs Legislation Lesson plans Letters: advice, application, resignation, informational, complaint, congratulation, from imaginary places, inquiry Persuasive: to public officials, to the editor, recommendations Lists Math notes/observations Math problem solutions Math record books Math story problems Memos Monologues Mottoes News stories—paper/radio/TV Orations Package copy Paraphrases Parodies Personalized license plate Placards Prayers Précis Prophecies and predictions Proposals Psychiatrists’ notes Public notices Reaction papers Requests Responses and rebuttals Résumés Reviews: movies, outside reading, radio/TV programs Screenplays Sermons Ship’s logs Skits Sideshow scripts Slogans Specifications for reports Speeches: expository speeches, nominating speeches Storyboards for animation Summaries Tables of contents Telegrams Telephone dialogues Test questions Thumbnail sketches: content idea, famous people, historical events, places Umpire reports Undercover reports Wanted posters War communiqués Word puzzles and games

23 Strong Verbs for R.A.F.T.S. Assignments
Descriptive Writing Illuminate Distinguish Define Clarify Elucidate Identify Trace Interpret Portray Narrative Writing Relate Tell Reflect Narrate Recount Report Recapitulate Review Recite Imaginative Writing Invent Fabricate Contrive Imagine Create Fantasize Devise

24 Strong Verbs for R.A.F.T.S. Assignments
Expository Writing Explain Compare Contrast Inform Summarize Announce Delineate Record Exemplify Reveal Notify State Evidence Persuasive Writing Persuade Convince Contest Urge Argue Encourage Cajole Advocate Induce Entreat Reason Prevail Influence Prove

25 6+1 Trait® Writing Teacher’s Planning Chart
IDEAS IDENTIFY THE OBJECTIVES from the key words in the rubric. PLAN the following...... Read alouds: Examples of trait from many sources Minilessons: Modeling, practice activities, score papers Writing Skill Practice: Practice as part of team or group Evaluation: Students work on this trait in their own writing Objective Read Alouds Minilessons Writing Skill Practice Evaluation Narrow, manageable topic Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco—discuss theme Read writing sample, “Earth” score/justify for Ideas trait In a team, choose one idea from “Earth” and write a focused paragraph Write a persona journal response to an idea of Pink and Say Relevant, quality details Pink and Say quickwrite an idea that resonates with you Example of ‘show and tell’ from focus lessons In pairs choose a topic to ‘show not tell’ and write a two paragraph piece Use your idea from quickwrite to write a three paragraph response Fresh, original ideas, personal knowledge or experience; insights Reader’s questions are anticipated and answered Designed by Roberta Young, 2002, Modified by Peter Bellamy, 2004

26 6+1 Trait® Writing Teacher’s Planning Chart
ORGANIZATION IDENTIFY THE OBJECTIVES from the key words in the rubric. PLAN the following...... Read alouds: Examples of trait from many sources Minilessons: Modeling, practice activities, focused journal topics Sample papers: Score and revise papers for trait (group write?) Revision: Students work on this trait in their own writing Objective Read Alouds Minilessons Writing Skill Practice Evaluation Inviting introduction; Satisfying conclusion Thoughtful transitions Pacing is evident Flows smoothly; matches audience and puropse Designed by Roberta Young, 2002, Modified by Peter Bellamy, 2004

Offers a broad perspective Challenges us to think of writing in new ways Gives us a model for responding to student’s writing Provides vocabulary for talking with students about writing Provides a solid foundation for revision and editing Allows students to become evaluators

28 Experimental Study Will training in 6+1 Trait® Writing affect teacher practice? Will training in 6+1 Trait® Writing affect student performance in writing? Conducted during 2003–2004 school year

29 Sample 76 classrooms (Grades 3 to 6) One school district
Complete data for 1,592 students in 72 classrooms

30 Design 2x2 model with two experimental conditions (treatment and control) and two test times; applied independently at four grade levels Random assignment of classrooms to treatment and control groups; stratified by grade Treatment: two-day workshop on 6+1 Trait® Writing in November

31 Data Collection Pretest: student writing sample collected prior to training Posttest: student writing sample collected following six months of implementation Classroom observations and teacher surveys (administered at the time of the posttest)

32 Writing Prompts Grades 3 & 4: narrative and descriptive (prompts were randomly assigned for the pretest; students were assigned the other mode for posttest) Grades 5 & 6: narrative and persuasive

33 Scoring All writing samples were scored using a six-point holistic rubric, and six five-point analytic rubrics (six traits) Each sample was scored by four raters, who did not know if samples were from the pretest or posttest or from the treatment or control group

34 Results No significant differences in student scores between treatment and control groups at any grade

35 Pretest to Posttest Differences Holistic Writing Scores

36 Pretest to Posttest Differences Holistic Writing Scores

37 Treatment by Test Time Interaction (All Grade Levels)

38 Treatment by Time Interaction (Grade 5 Voice)

39 Results for Teacher Survey (Treatment Group)
Approximately 90% of teachers reported “a great deal” or “a moderate amount” of specific instruction on the ideas, organization, and conventions Approximately 80% of teachers reported “a great deal” or “a moderate amount” of specific instruction on the word choice and sentence fluency

40 Results for Teacher Survey (Treatment Group)
80% to 90% of teachers agreed that the training: Improved their understanding of the qualities of good writing Helped them to improve their writing instruction Improved their ability to provide effective feedback to students 53% agreed that students could use the traits effectively for self-assessment

41 Treatment-Control Comparisons
More teachers in treatment group reported “very frequent” use of: Rubrics to explain what is expected Samples of excellent student writing Students discussing specific features of their writing

42 Treatment-Control Comparisons
More teachers in the control group reported “a great deal of specific instruction” in: generating rich ideas and content organizing content effectively using effective language connecting with the reader using conventions correctly

43 Limitations Amount of training Length of time for implementation
Treatment and control teachers in the same school

44 Dr. Michael Kozlow Contact
Assessment Program Director Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory Copies of this presentation and the paper can be found at:

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