Publications & Resources

Engaging Teachers in Assessment of Their Students’ Narrative Writing: Impact on Teachers’ Knowledge and Practice

May 1994

Maryl Gearhart, Shelby A. Wolf, Bette Burkey, and Andrea K. Whittaker

In the past two decades, the ways in which writing has been taught and assessed have shifted from a focus on final products to an emphasis on writing as a process. In this latest report from the Writing What You Read (WWYR) project, CRESST researchers Maryl Gearhart, Shelby Wolf, Bette Burkey, and Andrea Whittaker summarize the impact of the WWYR program, designed to enhance elementary teachers’ competencies in narrative writing assessment. This comprehensive report details the project’s history, the design and implementation of WWYR, and the research methods used to gain insight into teachers’ knowledge and practice. Numerous examples of the WWYR workshop materials, including the narrative rubric used to guide teachers’ practice in narrative assessment, are provided. One of the findings discussed in the report is that the assessments were not typically implemented as recommended. Teachers perceived the in-service program as imposed, rather than collaboratively designed. As a result, though teachers in the study were able to see productive possibilities for action and change in their methods of assessment, there were differences among the teachers in the pattern of their changes in understanding and practice. “[O]ur story is not a happily-ever-after tale,” conclude the researchers, “but a tale of real research with classroom teachers. A central point in Writing What You Read is to take what you learn from literature and carry it in to your own writing. As teachers and researchers, we will take what we have learned from this experience and carry it into our future classrooms and projects, reshaping and learning along the way.”

Gearhart, M., Wolf, S. A., Burkey, B., & Whittaker, A. K. (1994). Engaging teachers in assessment of their students’ narrative writing: Impact on teachers’ knowledge and practice (CSE Report 377). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).