Many students do not meet expected standards of writing performance, despite the need for writing competence in and out of school. As policy instruments, writing content standards have an impact on what is taught and how students perform. This study reports findings from an evaluation of the content of a sample of seven diverse states’ current writing standards compared to content of the Common Core State Standards for writing and language (CCSS-WL). Standards were evaluated for breadth of content coverage (range), how often content was referenced (frequency), the degree of emphasis placed on varied content elements (balance), and the degree of overlap between one set of standards and another (alignment). The study addressed two research questions: (1) What is the nature of the CCSS-WL and the sample states’ standards for writing with respect to content breadth, frequency, and balance? (2) To what degree do the states' writing standards align with the CCSS-WL? Results indicated that CCSS-WL are succinct and balanced, with breadth of coverage in some aspects of writing but not others. The seven states’ standards represented varying degrees of breadth, frequency, and balance with few patterns across states. None of the states’ standards had strong alignment with CCSS-WL, indicating a potential mismatch between prior curricular materials and instructional methods developed with former standards as guides to help students meet grade-level writing expectations in the new CCSS.
Troia, G. A., Olinghouse, N. G., Wilson, J., Stewart, K. A., Mo, Y., Hawkins, L., & Kopke, R. A. (2016). The Common Core Writing Standards: A Descriptive Study of Content and Alignment with A Sample of Former State Standards. Reading Horizons: A Journal of Literacy and Language Arts, 55 (3). Retrieved from https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/reading_horizons/vol55/iss3/4