Lessons Learned from the National Writing Project’s Focus On Standards Project (pdf, 65 pages)


Project: National Writing Project’s Focus on Standards

Authors: Laura Stokes, Barbara Heenan, Mark St. John

Type: Report

Publication: May 2002


In the spring of 1998, the National Writing Project (NWP) received funding from the Stuart Foundation to create a 3-year project called Focus on Standards (FOS). The project involved small groups of teachers from six NWP sites from California and Washington. The National Writing Project and the Stuart Foundation jointly contracted with Inverness Research Associates to study and evaluate the FOS project. Our study spans the beginning of the project in spring 1998 through the end of organized activity December 2000.

The FOS project supported teachers in directing their own inquiries into state standards, teaching, and learning. The program design made visible to us, as outside observers, the teachers’ professional worlds and the ways in which they make sense of their work. This report offers our assessment of the effectiveness of the FOS professional development model for the participants. We portray in detail the design and activities of the project, and of the teachers’ inquiry projects. We include several vignettes that are “thick” in description, and give voice to the participants’ thoughts and experiences. The report also offers lessons learned about how teachers develop standards for teaching, what role state standards can play, and what role the NWP can play.

Intended Audience

The National Writing Project, education policy-makers, school administrators, teachers, professional development providers, and general public.


Any and all errors are claimed by the authors of this document, Inverness Research, Inc.

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