PD writing program boosts TAKS scores

Houston ISD reports that Empowering Writers, K-8 provider of Professional Development for the instruction of writing, helped raise TAKS test scores in 2009-10. 18 of the lowest performing schools within Houston ISD’s East Region improved an average of 11.3% on Texas TAKS tests.

Enlisting the Empowering Writers approach to complement their “6+1 Traits of Writing,” schools within Houston ISD’s East Region realized a 23.7% average increase in commended performance on state tests. Achieved over a 7-month period, these increases can be attributed to the Professional Development Model, developed by Empowering Writers.

“The quality of work I am getting from my students since we started Empowering Writers has increased considerably,” commented Rachael Jones, elementary school teacher at Houston ISD’s J.W. Oates Elementary. Jones began by reading Where The Wild Things Are with her students, then implemented the Empowering Writers Methodology.

Jones adds, “We charted our observations, turned them into sentences, and discussed how to revise the writing to limit repetitiveness. After practicing as a class, my students were able to use their imaginations to turn those sentences into elaborate paragraphs. The results were phenomenal!”

The Empowering Writers approach begins with a solid foundation of whole class instruction for the introduction, modeling, and practice of the specific techniques necessary for the genre being taught. Focusing on smaller segments of explicit, discrete skills applied by students, rather than on an entire piece of writing prevent students from feeling overwhelmed.