Implementation of writing strategies improving assessment grades

The context of this Action Research ( AR ) undertaking based within an interior metropolis, secondary school. It is a assorted gender school with a cohort of 650 pupils runing from Year 7 to Year 11. The country environing this school is economically deprived with 4/5 kids eligible for free school repasts. Last twelvemonth ( 2009 ) the school had exceeded the authorities benchmark mark of 30 % of pupils accomplishing five GCSE ‘s including English and Maths. However, there was a clear spread between A-C classs between the two nucleus topics whereby the Maths section achieved a 70 % success rate compared to English section accomplishing merely 40 % . Some Mathematic practicians would reason the hapless consequences in English were are as a consequence of uneffective instruction pattern, whereas the counter statement derived from the English practitoners was that 80 % of pupils were EAL ( English as an Additional Language ) scholars and accordingly found literacy more hard than numeracy. I believe that both statements jointly played a portion towards this.


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I derived my country of survey from a departmental meeting at the start of the academic twelvemonth. The Head of Department ( HOD ) aimed to dispute the new cohort of Business Studies ‘ pupils to achieve a class higher than their predicted class. This was based on our past public presentation where the pupils attained two classs higher in their Maths GCSE ‘s compared to Business Studies.

I used Kemmis and McTaggart ‘s ( 1982 cited in McNiff, 1988 ) AR theoretical account to steer my pre-conception that if pupils were able to understand the content of the work set so this would increase pupil attainment. I besides used Elliott ‘s ( 1991 ) and Sagor ‘s ( 1992 ) suggestions on working in coaction with others because as Elizabeth Kasl and Lyle Yorks ( 2002 ) stated ‘it is by working in coaction with others that we are able to accomplish the most ‘ . I discussed my initial actions with my critical friend a TESMC Coordinator ( Teaching, English as a Secondary Language in Mainstream Classrooms ) a Literacy Lead Practitioner and co-workers working within my section. The feedback gathered steered towards hapless composing accomplishments as a barrier to success. As a consequence, my AR so shifted way to concentrate on whether the execution of composing schemes improved student attainment within 10B Business Studies.

Refined focal point of my AR question

An in agreement set of actions were proposed at the terminal of my first written assignment to prove my hypothesis by implementing five composing schemes. However, due to the timings of the school calendar and the balance of the Business Studies units that were required to be taught, it would hold merely been possible to implement three composing schemes. This was to increase cogency of the information gathered as each scheme would take several learning Sessionss to efficaciously implement and analyze. Trying to suit several composing schemes briefly may non hold had the same consequence. This position was agreed by both my critical friend and HOD who besides suggested that the benefits of this determination were readily obvious ; as to exert all authorship schemes at one time would hold obscured the true beginnings of any improved consequences. A period of one month would necessarily supply a sensible sum of clip over which consequences would be aggregated and compared for each scheme.

Action program of execution

The revised action program consisted of shiping on a elaborate probe into whether scaffolding, composing frames and word Bankss improved student attainment.

Although the three composing schemes formed portion of the 3rd rhythm of my AR research ( Appendix 1 ) , all three paved their manner into their ain mini rhythms. Each composing scheme had to be planned, so delivered and the impact of this was so analysed via multiple mediums through my journal entry and questionnaires. Each scheme provided chances to reflect on my actions, leting me to do any necessary amendments before go oning with the execution of the subsequent authorship scheme. I besides reminded myself to stay flexible throughout the procedure to suit the terra incognitas that may necessitate to be investigated before go oning with my bing AR rhythm. McNiff ( 1988 ) describes this as the ‘messiness ‘ of AR, where a procedure turns into spirals on spirals:

Data aggregation

Purpose: To garner sufficient informations to verify whether composing schemes have the coveted consequence of bettering pupil attainment.

Roll uping informations is imperative and an built-in portion of action research, in this context, consequences from the composing schemes employed are of immense involvement. Such informations provides ‘information and feelings necessary for contemplation ‘ ( Kemmis and McTaggart, 1982 ) . Prior to any action being taken it is important to find exactly the type of informations that is required to be obtained ( McNiff and Whitehead, 2006 ) . The triangulation procedure that involves the aggregation of two or more types of information is used to optimize the credibleness and cogency given to the consequences that are attained. I used methodological triangulation which involved utilizing a figure of methods that would be used to traverse look into my analysis.

I agree with Cohen et Al ( 2007 ) that more than one type of informations should be obtained as sole trust on one type, may be considered bias or at a worse instance scenario it could be seen as a deformation of the research worker ‘s image of a specific facet of world that is under probe. This procedure is argued by Patton ( 1980 ) who lay unfavorable judgments towards triangulation saying that it ‘can intend a series of ill implemented methods instead than one attack good executed ‘ . However, through my ain action research I believe that this can non be true of all methods so I refute his unfavorable judgment.

Multi method informations aggregation is really utile in enabling one to compare and contrast informations with respects to th0e consequences and any analysis and decisions. This is supported by Elliot ( 1991 ) and suggests that utilizing a assortment of informations aggregation methods and deriving the positions of others strengthens the cogency of the AR procedure.

Focus groups ( Internal Verifier ( IV ) , Literacy Coordinator and six pupils ) ;

Student questionnaires ;

The work produced by pupils.

Focus groups:

One of the methods by which the research information was gathered was through the usage of four scheduled focal point group meeting, comprising of a little figure of pupils ( six ) , one Literacy Coordinator an Internal Verifier ( IV ) and myself chairing the Sessionss. These Sessionss were held at different phases of my enquiry. I decided to include the Literacy Coordinator as she is taking practician in literacy so possessed the necessary experience and expertness required for an informed and utile treatment. Whilst the IV is confident in measuring higher order work and his given classs have non been overturned by the external voucher. This shows his ability to accurately judge the criterion of written pieces of work against the assessment standard. Both practicians are good to the research as they are able to accurately measure whether execution of composing schemes has had the desired affect.

As there were timetabling restraints, the sample of pupils was merely a little figure as my focal point group Sessionss had to be tailored around the handiness of the IV and the Literacy Coordinator. This was during school hours which meant that it was impossible to affect a larger cohort of pupils as it would hold affected their acquisition. However, the chosen pupils consisted of three male childs and three misss chosen through random choice for each gender. This choice procedure was conducted in this mode in order to cut down if non extinguish accusals of prejudice.

I led the focal point group treatments which involved talking informally about pupils ‘ composing accomplishments including leting them to analyze six pieces of their written essays. Cohen, et Al ( 2007 ) highlighted that focal point groups should go around around a cardinal treatment between the participants. I attempted to keep this throughout the procedure of this research.

In conformity with the demand to negociate and procure entree ethically, in other words elicit informed consent I agree that participants should be to the full informed of the facts that would be probably to act upon their determination about whether to give consent ( Dietner and Crandall, 1978, cited by Cohen et Al, 2007 ) . I dealt with this issue at the start of the AR undertaking. However, I was cognizant that this could take to the statement that informed consent could present prejudices ( Cohen et al,2007 ) . As a practician it would non hold been ethical for me to hold withheld this critical information environing the intents of my research. To get the better of this, I to the full explained my research purposes to the group and answered any inquiries raised about the whole procedure of this research.


The 2nd method of informations aggregation was through the usage of questionnaires ( Appendix 2 ) . I decided to utilize this method as it was an effectual avenue of ‘eliciting other people ‘s observations and readings of state of affairss and events, every bit good as their attitude towards them ‘ ( Elliot, 1991 ) which can be easy and handily filled out by pupils.

A templet questionnaire was drawn up and was piloted to a sample group of pupils chosen at random to find any defects that would impact the cogency of my research. The chief concern about the questionnaires, were whether the linguistic communication used in the questionnaire would be easy understood by the pupils involved in the research. This could so be corrected to guarantee that the concluding information gathered was accurate. There were no jobs with this dry tally as the questionnaire was easy understood by the pupils. This so led to the entry of the questionnaire to find the positions of the pupils at the decision of each composing scheme.

I used a assortment of unfastened and closed inquiries to garner the relevant information required for careful finding. Cohen, et Al ( 2007 ) discovered that extremely structured, closed inquiries were utile in order to supply informations that could be statistically analysed which I do agree with. The unfastened inquiries would let for pupils to show their positions on each scheme and supply chances for in-depth positions to be generated where closed inquiries would non let. However, Macintrye ( 2000 ) states that unfastened questionnaires can give a low response as the procedure takes some clip to finish compared to closed inquiries. To besides esteem moralss of this research and privateness of all participants, the questionnaires were anon. for the pupils. This had the added benefit of leting participants to show their positions without bias or feeling that a peculiar line of look had to be taken.

Students work:

I used the work produced by the pupils taking portion in the focal point group to find the impact, if any, of whether the execution of the authorship schemes improved student attainment. The Literacy Coordinator and the Internal Verifier besides discussed the work with the pupils. This procedure was to prolong the dependability of the procedure as the work could be cross examined with the informations gathered from the focal point group and the completion of the pupils ‘ questionnaires.


Evaluation of research methods


An unmanageable variable in relation to data aggregation was that certain pupils over the three month period had booked yearss off school or were absent due to illness. This may hold affected the consequences as certain more able pupils may hold been off which may hold in bend affected the Numberss that were able to compose pieces of work independently every bit compared to the less able pupils or frailty versa. However, as the questionnaires were distributed to the full category, ab initio as a dry tally followed subsequently by the existent questionnaires and used in concurrence with other methods of informations aggregation ( focal point group, pupils work etc ) limited the chance of whether the consequences were feasible to take precedency.

Focus groups:

Using a sample of 6 pupils for the focal point group meant that the sentiments gathered were non representative of the whole category ; 10B. This may hold made the consequences obtained from such a method to be susceptible to bias and of limited cogency. Even though the consequences may hold supported the averment that deficiency of composing accomplishments affect pupils classs in appraisals, such consequences have to be treated with discretion as the sample size was little.

One job that I encountered with the focal point group was that I had scheduled 4 meetings of the focal point group ; at the start of the AR undertaking, after the completion of each of the 3 schemes and at the terminal of the AR undertaking to garner overall sentiments of the schemes that were implemented.

However, on the twenty-four hours for which the 3rd meeting of the focal point group was scheduled the school was closed to all staff and pupils due to unanticipated fortunes and the meeting could non be rescheduled for another twenty-four hours due to the restraints of the instruction timetable. This meant that proceeded to the following theory without holding cross measuring the findings during the focal point group. We did nevertheless, hold the forth focal point group meeting after the completion of the 3rd theory which was besides the terminal of the AR undertaking.

Journal journal:

I kept a diary throughout the execution of my AR undertaking as it was utile for a assortment of grounds such as it helped me to reflect on the issues raised during the procedure of the AR undertaking and critically reexamine their consequence whether pupil attainment improved. Campbell et Al, ( 2004 ) suggested maintaining a diary to garner informations about a state of affairs because “ brooding authorship is a major tool for a instructor research worker ” Holly, ( 1998 ) ( cited by Campbell et al 2004 ) stated, to be brooding, a diary should incorporate “ deliberative idea and analysis related to pattern ”

I feel that my diary authorship was non detailed plenty to be analysed in-depth and that I may hold non hold been able to absorb and hence transportation to my diary every issue or incident that occurred. This may hold been partially due to my deficiency in ability to grok the state of affairs and partially to the clip ingestion of the procedure of apprehension and so composing about an issue.

Evaluation of composing schemes:


As portion of the execution of my AR undertaking I supported the pupils through the subjects and made the content well simpler for them to grok and understand in conformity with Vygotsky ‘s Scaffolding ( 1967 ) theory integrated within the Teaching and Learning Cycle ( 2007 ) . This method of support was possibly a more successful method compared with the other two methods ; I did nevertheless place its defects. Analyzing my journal entry about the execution of the staging scheme, I found that the pupils enjoyed taking the function as the practician patterning the reply on the white board and gave positive feedback about both myself and the pupils patterning a joint reply, such as “ I feel I now understand how to compose a similar reply on my ain ” . Regardless of the positive feedback during the execution phases, I realised from my observations that the pupils struggled to compose an reply to the same criterion independently. This position was shared upon the analysis of the summational questionnaire.

The more able pupils within the sample category did non meet any trouble when composing pieces of work independently after the joint building procedure. However, the less able pupils became to a great extent reliant on this method and found it slightly hard to reassign their authorship accomplishments to a new subject inquiry that was devoid of joint building and modeling.

My critical friend suggested prior to the execution to do certain I had to do certain pupils were confident in finishing each phase before traveling to the following phase. Upon my analysis, I felt that I may hold rushed through the scheme and this is why the terminal consequence did non work every bit efficaciously for the lower ability. Vygotsky ( 1967 ) stated that instructor and pupil modeling should be mastered prior to the patterned advance to the independent building phase. Further analysis of the pupils work during the focal point group session slightly supported the above position.

Upon this analysis, as a practician involved within the research, I made it a first precedence that prior to the execution of the penultimate scheme I needed to seek preparation on this. This was to guarantee that I had the expertness to efficaciously present this scheme within my learning programme. Gratefully my Literacy Coordinator was helpful in providing for my demand and provided one to one support towards the instruction and planning of this scheme.

Writing frames:

I besides utilised Wray & A ; Lewis ‘ ( 1997 ) composing frame theory to see whether such frames would give pupils the ability to compose independently or in some instances help them hone their authorship accomplishments.

I found that the 18 out of the 24 were able to compose pieces of work independently when the prompts were taken off. However the balance of the pupils struggled as they found it hard to compose replies without aid and repeatedly used the same conjunctions. It was besides noted that 14 out of the 18 pupils who wrote independently were male childs. This findings was similar to classroom based survey conducted by Steve Adderley at Castleway Primary School ( 2000, cited at ) to find whether student attainment increased as a consequence of implementing composing frames. The survey concluded that composing frames improved the male childs ‘ literacy. This was because male childs have a more ocular head compared to misss and hence tend to retrieve the prompts and can reassign them to compose similar replies to new subject inquiries. These positions were shared from with the IV and Literacy Coordinator.

However, I must be careful non to do a generalisable statement that boys benefitted the most from this scheme. As there are other variables that that could hold come into drama such as the subject country that was taught could hold been easy grasped. As the deadline for this research was tightly fitted in with my instruction agenda, it was non possible to carry on some reconnaissance on this subject.

However, it was analysed that this scheme did non accommodate all of the pupils in the group an this was upon the reappraisal of my journal entry notes which suggested at the clip of execution of composing frames that some pupils struggled to compose replies to a new subject inquiry when the authorship frames were taken away where some pupils remarked that they found it easier to reply the old subject inquiry which I had provided prompts for. This may be due to what Wray and Lewis ( 1998 ) wrote sing composing frames ; composing frames like schoolroom treatment helps pupils express themselves as they are having verbal prompts in schoolroom treatments or written prompts in composing which prosecute them and assist them to get down quickly as they are non presented with a space page which most pupils find daunting and hence when the prompts are taken away pupils are left with a clean page.

The consequences of the questionnaire completed at the terminal of the execution of the theory showed that 6 out of 24 pupils felt that they needed the prompts to assist them to reply the inquiry as they answered “ No ” to the inquiry “ Do you experience that you can now reply a new subject inquiry without the demand for prompts? ” this meant that the usage of the prompts had non given the pupils assurance to be able to compose independently and had alternatively had the opposite consequence which was non intended and hence would non assist to achieve higher classs. This is once more supported by Wray and Lewis ( 1998 ) theory that pupils find being presented with a clean paper unappealing and hence affects their assurance and as a consequence underperform during lengthier written pieces of work.

Word Bankss:

After this I implemented Quandt ( 1973 ) theory whereby cardinal words were used to seek to better and consequence some alteration in the pupils ‘ ability to compose efficaciously and reply inquiries independently. Quandt ( 1973 ) argues that the usage of word Bankss would develop the scholars if they wrote the key words down themselves. Anything that was written down by the kid becomes personal to them ; therefore they were more likely to understand the word.

The execution of word Bankss supported Quandt ‘s theory to a certain grade as 21 out of 24 pupils were able to right specify concern keywords. It was besides noted within the questionnaire that the bulk of the pupils did welcome the support of this scheme. However, when pupils attempted to compose higher degree replies 5 pupils failed to put the key words in the right topographic points and made inappropriate usage of them in sentences which led to their work going confounding. So to reply my initial inquiry, did pupil ‘s consequences improve as a consequence of this action good for the greater figure was the instance. The position of was supported by the Lead Practitioner and the IV when they assessed the 6 pieces of pupils work and found that 5 out of the 6 pieces of work were written to a high criterion and made effectual usage of the concern key words.

The cardinal reply I set out to happen at this phase was ; why a little figure of were non able to do effectual usage of this scheme. Fortunately for me one of the pupils who did non experience that this scheme worked for them was involved within the focal point group and she replied that the cardinal words were still new to her and there was no learning on how these words would used when replying higher order inquiries. Vygotsky ( 1967 ) suggested teacher patterning and joint building as a manner of bettering acquisition. The rating I draw from this scheme is that to better effectivity the usage of word Bankss would necessitate the practician to show this procedure in action.


My decision will be based around the undermentioned citation by Fowell, S ( 1995 ) who suggest that “ an action research attack to learn can be used to better instruction and acquisition pattern ” .

During class of this AR undertaking I was able to work in coaction with an Internal Verifier, a Literacy Coordinator and was supported by my critical friend who is a specializer in learning English as a Secondary Language and this experience has helped me to better my learning pattern as it has given me the assurance to test a assortment of schemes to outdo suit my instruction manner and to derive the best from my pupils by orienting each scheme to their demands. The AR undertaking has besides helped me to derive in depth feedback from my pupils which have been vastly utile towards the betterment of my ain instruction pattern.

Upon following a triangulation informations aggregation attack this survey has highlighted many positives and did pave it manner towards bettering the acquisition of pupils. Upon analysis of towards the quantitative informations collated from the questionnaires and pupils graded work the pupil attainment did addition, nevertheless there was non a consistent positive correlativity between all of three of composing schemes as some pupils performed better compared to the other two.

The Word Banks theory was successful as all the pupils in the category with the exclusion of 3 pupils were able to specify concern keywords. However, when the pupils were required to compose a higher degree answer 5 pupils failed to right use the concern keywords towards this undertaking.

When I integrated Vygotsky ‘s Scaffolding ( 1967 ) theory into my instruction I found that this method was most good to the more able pupils in the category as they were the 1s who were able to reassign the accomplishment gained through the staging method and were able to compose a higher order answer independently for a new subject inquiry while the lower ability pupils struggled to make this.

Writing frames were most good to boys as they did better so misss when they were asked to compose replies to a new subject inquiry. When the authorship frames were taken off there was still a gender divide as the male childs performed better than the misss.

Therefore, implementing the composing frames theory on its ain would non be good. for this ground I suggest that composing frames be implemented as portion of scaffolding procedure as my research highlighted and the survey by Steve Adderley concluded that composing frames were best utilized when they were demonstrated by the practician. Demonstration is a signifier of staging, described by Vygotsky as modeling ( cited in Young, 1993 ) therefore, patterning and composing frames go manus in manus.

Overall each of the 3 theories was unable to supply a best fit attack to better pupil attainment within Business Studies. However from my experience in presenting the three schemes, I came to believe that these composing schemes could me amalgamated into one programme. For this ground my purpose is to look into this as my hereafter research, in concurrence with trialling Graves ( 1983 ) Writing procedure theory that I did non hold the opportunity to look into within this AR rhythm due to curriculum restraints.

Besides, the theorist/academics composing schemes that I have used for the intents of this research would ne’er hold that three schemes would work in sync with each other, nevertheless Steve Adderley ‘s ( 2000 ) practical schoolroom based survey proves otherwise and has stated the positive impact scaffolding and composing frames have had towards increases male childs ‘ attainment. These successes I would wish to drag into my instruction pattern.

So I will go on with Kemmis ‘s and McTaggart ‘s rhythm of Action Research ( 1982 cited in McNiff, 1988 ) and travel into rhythm 4 ; nevertheless rhythm 4 will non be the terminal as I believe that my proposed action will be a continual rhythm of planning, moving, detecting, reflecting and re-planning. This is because I now have the motive and thrust to go a automatic practician and travel off from being a brooding practician, Elliott ( 1995 ) .

Following stairss

As highlighted earlier, I will travel into rhythm 4 of my Action Research. To back up my future research I have adapted McNiff and Whiteheads ( 2006 ) guidelines on inquiries to see when prosecuting Action Research to my ain inquiries which are outlined below.

What will I make about my concern?

I will mean to implement The Writing Process theory, scaffolding, composing frames, and word Bankss with category 10B.

I will at the same time incorporate all these tools into my lessons. The ground for this attack is I will be able to utilize the ‘TLC ‘ as and sketch when be aftering my lessons and the Graves authorship procedures, Wray & A ; Lewis ‘s composing frames, aboard word Bankss can all be integrated within the TLC.

How will I guarantee my analysis of the above information is just?

To guarantee the effectivity of my action I will roll up qualitative informations by garnering the positions of the pupil ‘s from category 11B to see if their experience of composing schemes has improved their written accomplishments. This information will be gathered through a questionnaire. Gathering this information will besides beef up the cogency of my analysis.

My attack of informations aggregation is supported by Elliot ( 1995 ) who suggests the importance of garnering informations from other points of position for comparing intents.

What possible jobs should I be cognizant of that are outside of my control?

Student frequent absenteeism could impact the result of my survey as the coursework produced may be of hapless quality anyhow. However, this will merely be a possible job if a high figure of pupils were absent as the information gathered will non be sufficient to do any concluding decisions.


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Appendix 1

3- Mini-Cycles


Word Bankss

Writing frames

Cycle 3: Will the execution of a word staging, word Bankss & As ; composing frames better the appraisal classs within 10B Business Surveies?

Cycle 4: Any farther actions that may necessitate to be explored after the rating of rhythm 3



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