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 2016 school year, trained tutors reached 370+ students worked across two Boston high schools. Of these students, 74% were English Language Learners.
Tutors provided 1,100+ tutoring sessions 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 27 teachers across English, History, ELL, math, science, and special education over the past year.
End-of-year surveys of our Writing Centers revealed that for students who used the Center 3 or more times:
93% worked harder on their assignments because they worked with a Writing Center tutor.
95% saw improvement in their writing because they worked with a Writing Center tutor.
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.
Boston Teens in Print (TiP)
In 2016, the Boston Teens in Print newspaper published 287 articles by 173 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 20,000 students -- in addition to community centers and libraries throughout the city. Since its unveiling in 2013, the Boston Teens in Print website has had more than 63,000 page views.
In addition, we served 33 students during our 2016 six-week summer journalism program. Through partnership with the Boston Youth Fund program, all 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, 89% of students said that their writing improved my writing as a result of the program, and 97% felt more prepared for future jobs. 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.”