Project WRITE

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Project Summary The primary objective of Project Write: Examining English Learners’ Writing Proficiency is to examine the English writing development of English learners (ELs) and identify the writing skills that discriminate between typically developing ELs and those who are at risk for writing difficulties. The project has 3 specific aims: (a) examine the measurement characteristics of writing CBMs in English and Spanish that discriminate the writing of second grade English learners at different ability levels, (b) explore the cross-linguistic relationship between English and Spanish writing skills for second grade English learners, and (c) identify which writing skills in English discriminate between typically developing ELs in second grade and those who are at risk for writing disabilities. Data will be collected in 13 second grade bilingual classrooms from nine schools in one large, demographically diverse school district in Oregon. Participating classrooms will be located in urban and suburban areas, and include primarily students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. The sample will consist of approximately 250 second grade students in dual language or bilingual Spanish-English programs. We will collect two types of writing samples in English and Spanish: curriculum-based measures (CBM) of written expression, and standardized measures of writing (Stanford Achievement Test – 10th Edition, and Aprenda-3). Writing CBMs will be collected eight times during the year in English, once per month, and three times in Spanish. Standardized writing measures will be collected in the spring of second grade. In addition, we will use the oral language proficiency data collected by the district to determine students language proficiency in English and Spanish. The proposed research design is longitudinal, using repeated measures of student writing ability to (a) evaluate multiple indices of writing proficiency (e.g., fluency-based, accuracy-based, holistic) and (b) predict end of year performance on a standardized measure of students’ ability to demonstrate principles indicative of effective writing. We will use latent variable structural equation modeling to examine the relative contribution of a range of accuracy- (e.g., percentage of legible words, percentage of words correctly spelled, percentage of words correctly sequenced) and fluency- (e.g., total number of words written, correct word sequences, number of words spelled correctly, total unique words) based measures to estimate students’ writing proficiency in each language. We will then use those latent estimates to examine stability and growth of those writing behaviors over the course of the school year, and test the extent to which those estimates, along with holistic ratings and measures of students’ use of bilingual strategies, predict students’ proficiency on standardize measures of language outcomes in English and Spanish.