Compendium of Research


    • Perhaps no single piece of research is more fundamental to the creation of WriterKEY than, The Power of Feedback, by John Hattie and Helen Temperley. We wish we could reproduce the article and republish it here, but we cannot. Please make the effort to find it on the Internet or through Sage publishing.

      This article provides a conceptual analysis of feedback and reviews the evidence related to its impact on learning and achievement. This evidence shows that although feedback is among the major influences, the type of feedback and the way it is given can be differentially effective. A model of feedback is then proposed that identifies the particular properties and circumstances that make it effective, and some typically thorny issues are discussed, including the timing of feedback and the effects of positive and negative feedback. Finally, this analysis is used to suggest ways in which feedback can be used to enhance its effectiveness in classrooms.

      Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The Power of Feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81-112


    • "Writing on student papers is a dubious and difficult enterprise." Peter Elbow has been engaged with improving the way we teach writing and respond to student writers for over 50 years and numerous books. His work has ranged from helping the youngest student writers to higher education. His approach has always been one of questioning assumptions to simplify a complex process. His writings have influenced master writing teachers across the county. In this document he challenges assumptions about how best to respond to student writers. Dr. Elbow and Dr. Sommers are two (among many) influential people we listen to carefully.

      Thank you to Marist College for providing the link: https://www.marist.edu/writingcenter/pdfs/respond.pdf


    • Dr. Nancy Sommers has been teaching and researching at Harvard University for over three decades. Her experience as the principal investigator of the Harvard Study of Undergraduate Writing and her work with future teachers of English guide her understanding of how to effectively respond to student writers. It would be impossible to highlight all the points of intersection between WriterKEY and her research because of how aligned the two are. This handbook is a must have for teachers who want a practical, experienced-based, approach to responding to student writers. We cannot recommend this book enough to teachers who want to understand how to respond effectively to student writers in ways that will help them grow as writers.

      Purchase it here

      Read perspectives on the text


    • This book is a valuable resource for understanding the link between the instructional objectives a teacher creates and a student’s probability of learning. WriterKEY helps this process be seamless with the way assignments are built and the ongoing support. From Chapter 1:

      “Being in a classroom without knowing the direction for learning is similar to taking a purposeless trip to an unfamiliar city. Teachers can set objectives to ensure that students’ journeys with learning are purposeful. When teachers identify and communicate clear learning objectives, they send the message that there is a focus for the learning activities to come. This reassures students that there is a reason for learning and provides teachers with a focal point for planning instruction. Providing feedback specific to learning objectives helps students improve their performance and solidify their understanding.”

      Classroom Instruction That Works by Ceri B. Dean, Elizabeth Ross Hubbell, Howard Pitler and Bj Stone

      Read Chapter 1 and learn more about this book HERE


    • A key feature of WriterKEY is the limit on the number of instructional objectives a teacher can populate in the tools for any given assignment. This feature is based on the research (provided in the link below) on cognitive overload and its impact on instructional design. At an intuitive level, we all know that it is difficult to learn many things simultaneously; we apply that concept to teachers providing feedback to students: too many writing skills to focus on means too few skills get sustained feedback. Pass, Renkl, and Swiller published this research in the journal, Educational Psychologist.


    • From the introduction: This article seeks to examine the notion of written feedback on assignments and argue that this feedback process is more complex than is sometimes acknowledged.

      Despite its importance, the literature on feedback reveals that students are often dissatisfied with the feedback they receive, in terms of lacking specific advice to improve being difficult to interpret and confidence or having a potentially negative impact on students’ self-perception.


    • This document provides a clear foundation for all teachers of writing. WriterKEY supports each of the beliefs both in the formative process described and in the challenges that must be met by both teacher and learner. The underlying belief in the capacity of teachers to improve student writing in critical. Access this belief statement HERE

      Article by the Writing Study Group of the NCTE Executive Committee, November 2004


    • In this book, Kelly Gallagher argues convincingly that the role of the writing teacher must evovle to meet the demands of today's students. Consistent with WriterKEY, the author suggests how to be more effective in giving feedback to students. He also distinguishes between craft and editing and how teachers should teach and provide feedback to students. We think this book is indispensable to today's thoughtful writing teacher.

      You can find more about this book: here at Amazon

      Search: Kelly Gallagherfor more information on his ideas.


    • Teachers rely on a combination of written comments and conferences to provide feedback and guidance with student work-in-progress, but White conducted reasearch to challenge the productiveness of this effort. Finding included that written comments make it too easy to mark every element that needs work rather than highlight a few key points for the student to focus on. Teachers often struggled to limit comments and to avoid overloading students and making feedback ineffective, as this research other composition studies show. Students get overwhelmed by extensive comments

      White, Edward M. 2006. Assigning, Responding, Evaluating: A Writing Teacher’s Guide. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

      See a preview of the book here

      ISBN 9780312439309


    • Clements (2006) suggests that the disconnect between feedback and revision is complicated by a number of factors, including the legibility of handwriting and editing symbols which sometimes read more like chicken scratch than a clear message. Students usually did their best to interpret the comment rather than ask for clarification. Other times, students made revision decisions based on a formula that weighed the amount of effort in relation to the grade they would receive. In other words, feedback that was easier to address gained priority, and feedback that required deep thinking and a great deal of cognitive work was dismissed. Sometimes these decisions were made out of sheer laziness. Other times students’ lack of engagement with feedback was a strategic triage move to balance the priorities of school, work, and home life. These findings motivated us to find more effective ways to provide feedback that students could understand and apply to improve their work.

      Clements, Peter. 2006. Teachers’ Feedback in Context: A Longitudinal Study of L2 Writing Classrooms. PhD diss., University of Washington.

      Access Restricted Version

      https://digital.lib.washington.edu/researchworks/handle/1773/9322


    • The importance of written communication cannot be overstated. Writing is an important tool for clarifying and organizing ideas. It is a process, one that can bring order to confusion, give shape to intuition, and provoke unexpected connections. Through writing, we can better plumb our desires, manifest our memories, consolidate knowledge, and relate to a larger world. Good writing skills are an integral part of being an effective communicator, and essential to one’s academic and career success. In this master's project, Phillip J. Sloan provides a concise literature review and analysis of the ugent call to improve the teaching of writing in Social Studies classes 6-12.

      A Master’s Project by Philip J. Sloan


    • Chris Gallagher articulates a vision for assessment that sees the information (data) as a tool to guide instruction. In the model of informative assessment, this vision suggests the opportunity to treat assessment as a necessary part of the feedback process teachers should implement in the classroom. The author is NOT suggesting more standardized tests, but rather a systematic way to provide an understanding of what students know and can do that should drive curriculum and instruction.

      Find it at Amazon here.


    • Susan Brookhart describes a range of strategies for giving effective feedback, including strategies for feedback to students about their writing (Chapter 3). This book approaches the topic from a hands-on, classroom approach. WriterKEY faciliatates the approach she describes and seeks to help teachers be more effective and efficient implementing her strategies.

      You can learn more about this book by visiting ASCD at this link.


    • Lorna Earle's thinking about assessment challenges us to do better with what we already do. She argues that as we more carefully and purposefully create assessments, we transform the assessment model into one of exploration and definition. Particularly applicable to WriterKEY, chapter 3 of her book defines and examines the differences among assessment of learning, assessment for learning, and assessment as learning. For educators seeking to redefine how they implement their curriculum, define meaningful learning targets, and create instructional goals this book is a great resource.

      You can read portions of this book HERE