What Do Teachers Need to
KNOW and DO to Develop
Judy M. Parr PhD
8th May 2014 Melbourne
Writing: An Ongoing
Writing is #*
What Need to Know (++)
• Knowledge of student writer
• Knowledge of content
(including processes) in writing
• Knowledge of how best to
support writing (pedagogy)
• Knowledge of how to learn
Knowledge of the Writer
• a student’s background, especially
linguistic “capital”
• a student’s current profile of
“strengths and gaps” in writing
(relative to expected quality
The Key to Knowing the
Developing Writer
• Gather evidence:
–using a range of “sources”
–in different contexts
–as a normal part of teaching
Purpose for Assessing
• Assess (FA, AtoL, AfL) to inform
learning and teaching:
– Interactive
– Planned
• Assess to make a judgment (whether
met a standard or attained a level/
– A “test” or overall teacher judgment (OTJ)
Know Your EvidenceGathering “Tools” (given purpose)
• Understand strengths & limitations of tools
– e.g. with writing “tests”, the question of validity,
variability within a writer and agreement across
• Referenced to curriculum (help examine
effectiveness of teaching) or testing a more
“general” ability to write?
• Providing a judgment or diagnostic info.?
• Allowing comparison of progress with what
Know About Progress and Pace
• Understand the implications of a trajectory of
progress (if pace is too slow, students will fall
further behind)
• Know what to notice that marks progress in
Establish a Shared Understandings
of Quality Performance
• What does a quality piece of writing look like
<at different levels; for different purposes>;
what are the key features that are commonly
associated with such quality writing?
A Systematic Means to Diagnose
Strengths and Gaps in Writing
 Criteria for assessing writing performance
framed around purposes for writing
 persuade or argue
 instruct or lay out a procedure
 narrate-inform or entertain through imaginative
 classify, organise, describe or report information
 explain
 recount (factual, personal)
(PINDER) (and around dimensions of writing
Dimensions of Writing
• Rhetorical level – writer/reader/context:
– Audience
• Text level
– Content/ ideas
– Structure
– Language resources
• Conventions:
– Grammar
– Punctuation
– Spelling
Result: A Matrix Describing
Features of Quality Writing
• A “rubric” for each of the writing purposes; a
series of descriptions that form criteria (for
scoring)• by dimension of writing
• and by curriculum level.
asTTle Output: Writing
Establishing Quality Through
Collegial Discussion
What Need to Know (++)
• Knowledge of student writer
• Knowledge of content
(including processes) in writing
• Knowledge of how best to
support writing (pedagogy)
• Knowledge of how to learn
“Content” Knowledge for Teaching
• Writing is complex requiring:
– Knowledge of language (form,
function and ‘discourses’); how
writing “works” to achieve
communicative purposes in different
– How to acquire & coordinate
strategies for regulating the process
Idea of Pedagogical Content
Knowledge in Writing
PCK involves knowing about writing from the
point of view of teaching it to others (e.g. likely
difficulties of students, developmental
progression); knowing what form of
“instructional force” will be effective
Content Knowledge + Needed for
Feedback to Writing
• Read the student piece (Yr 5-6). It was to be a
recount of some enjoyable event.
• Provide one general comment or response.
• Then, give two pieces of specific feedback that
will best help the developing writer to enhance
the piece.
• (2-3 minutes)
• Hi I am at home planning my trip to synedy and
Brisbaned for Christmas and New years day I am
going to stay in syned for a week and I am going to
stay in Brisburnd for a week with my mum’s flat mate.
When I go stay over in synedy I will meet rua his a
dog of chris’s. Chris is one of marys flat mate now
last time when I went there I had to count his money.
There is bazz she’s another one of marys flat mate
and nan she has 3 children one is around 14 years
old the seoncod is 2 years old and the youngs child is
nine mothes old. Then I go to Brisbured. I am going
there on the 15th of December till the 5th of January
20001. When I got to synedy I am going to go to all
this fantsey parks and wet and wild and I am going to
stay in a hotal.
Share with a Neighbour
• General comment: It is likely to be positive
and/or empathic
• Does it introduce the idea of the need to
‘reorient’ the piece?
• What specific feedback did you give?
The Specific Feedback
• Does feedback you gave indicate how well
student is going? Does it give guidance on
what a “good” recount should have? Does it
relate to major features that would
dramatically improve this recount? And does it
say what exactly to do to improve?
• Our research showed that the teacher’s score
for quality feedback (based on these criteria)
was strongly correlated to the amount of
progress the class made in writing
What Need to Know (++)
• Knowledge of student writer
• Knowledge of content (including
processes) in writing
• Knowledge of how best to support
writing (pedagogy) (+ execute!)
• Knowledge of how to learn
Knowledge of Pedagogy
Teachers whose students make
good progress in writing:
• Combine ‘process-based’ classrooms with
‘deliberate acts of teaching’ (explicit
instruction in writing)
• Differentiate instruction (through ongoing
monitoring, adjustment & revision)
• Find authentic (and interesting/ exciting)
writing opportunities
Knowledge of Pedagogy
Teachers whose students make good
progress in writing:
• Organise for productive talk and
collaborative work
• Make connections- between speaking and
writing, reading and writing, across texts (and
across subject areas), to real world experience
• Help writers with processes and strategies
involved in writing (integrated)
Knowledge of Pedagogy
• Share what students are learning
about writing and why (higher level
• Make clear what quality performance
looks like
• Help each writer see what needs to do
to achieve learning goal (give high
quality feedback to students)
• Work to create self-regulating writers
Knowledge of How to Learn:
Teachers as Learners
• Inquire into own
• Use evidence to
work collectively
to change or hone
practice to
improve student
Effective Development of Writing is
• Dimensions of powerful practice: knowledge of
learner; of content and pedagogy, and of
inquiry are intertwined/ interdependent
Over To You!
Selected References
PARR, J.M. ‘Classroom assessment in writing’ In J. McMillan (Ed). Sage
Handbook of Research on Classroom Assessment. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
PARR, J.M. ‘Repertoires to scaffold teacher learning and practice in assessment
of writing’. Assessing Writing, 16, 32-48, 2011.
PARR, J.M., & TIMPERLEY, H. ‘Feedback to writing, assessment for teaching and
learning and student progress’. Assessing Writing, 15, 68-85, 2010.
PARR, J.M., & LIMBRICK, E. ‘Contextualising practice: Hallmarks of effective
teachers of writing’. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26, 583-590, 2010.
TIMPERLEY, H.S., & PARR, J.M. ‘What is this lesson about? Instructional
processes and student understandings in the writing classroom’. Curriculum
Journal, 20, 43-60, 2009.
GLASSWELL, K., & PARR, J.M. ‘Teachable moments: Linking assessment and
teaching in talk around writing’. Language Arts, 86, 352-361, 2009.

What do teacher need to know and do to develop writing?