WriteBoston utilizes a systematic evaluation plan developed by an external evaluator to measure the effectiveness of our work with teachers and students. In our work with teachers, evaluation efforts are focused on measuring the effectiveness of our coaching and related changes in teacher practice; in our work with students, we measure attitudinal changes, writing confidence, and skill. All of WriteBoston’s work is grounded in best practices in the field of writing and coaching.
Opportunities for Teachers
Through regular use of surveys, we have been able to gather feedback from teachers about the efficacy of our coaching and short-term professional development. We ask pointed questions about the effectiveness and skill of our writing coaches, and regularly seek to understand how regular coaching impacts instruction.
100% of teachers surveyed said working with a WriteBoston coach supported their efforts to improve their instructional practices in the classroom.
98% of teachers surveyed said their knowledge of how to incorporate writing as a tool for learning increased as a result of coaching.
96% of teachers surveyed said the coaching they received from WriteBoston was effective or highly effective in meeting their professional learning objectives.
100% of teachers agreed with the following five powerful statements related to their instructional practices and needs as adult learners.
There was room for flexibility and innovation in approaching new ways to teach writing in my classroom.
Having a WriteBoston coach as a mentor helped support my efforts to improve my instructional practices in the classroom.
My knowledge about literacy was a valued component in the discussions I had about writing instruction.
There was reciprocal understanding of my professional development needs.
Opportunities for Students
WriteBoston Writing Centers help students develop their writing skills through one-on-one, interactive conferences with volunteer writing tutors. During the 2013-2014 school year, trained tutors reached 522 students worked across three Boston high schools. Nearly 53% of students served were English Language Learners.
Tutors provided 889 drop-in tutoring sessions with students and visited classrooms 297 times to provide personal attention to students as they work through the writing process. Our Writing Centers have become vital instructional resources for teachers across the curriculum, supporting the classroom activities of 37 teachers across English, History, ELL, math, science, and special education over the past year.
End-of-year surveys of our Writing Centers revealed that:
93% of students agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, "Working with a writing tutor helped me develop my ideas."
86% of students agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “After working with writing tutors, I feel more comfortable with the writing process.
84% of students agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, "My writing tutor helped me try new approaches to writing."
Most importantly, we continue to find the greater the interaction with tutors, the more likely students are to internalize strong writing habits. As the graph below shows, students’ independent use of new writing strategies grows as they spend more time working with tutors in the Writing Center. (Data from 2012-13 survey.)
Boston Teens in Print (TiP)
In 2013-14, the Boston Teens in Print newspaper published 241 articles by 147 Boston Public Schools students. Published and distributed five times a year, TiP is delivered to more than 30 Boston public high schools -- where it is accessible to some 30,000 students -- in addition to community centers and libraries throughout the city. The Boston Teens in Print website, unveiled in late September 2013, has reached over 3,400 visitors through more than 11,500 page views.
In addition, we served 42 students during our 2014 six-week summer journalism program. Through partnership with the Boston Youth Fund and the John Hancock MLK Summer Scholars programs, 34 of these students were provided with summer jobs.
To understand program impact and evaluate changes in student writing, TiP administers attitudinal surveys.
After our more recent journalism institute, 91% of students said that their writing improved my writing as a result of this program and they learned skills in this program that will “help me in school.” As one student said, the Summer Journalism Institute “helped me manage my time…I became more focused, even while working with friends.”
The program also increased students’ feelings of self-efficacy and connectedness to peers and adults. Students were more likely, compared to when they started our program, to agree with the statements “As a teenager in Boston, I feel that I have ways to express myself and get my ideas heard” and “If I voice my opinions, I can make a difference in the world.”