School Leaders Make Improving Student Writing a Priority

Indiana school leaders are working to sharpen students' writing skills.

Last year, a writing section was added to the SAT's, and when the scores came back, the Indiana class of 2006 scored below the national average.

Experts say, to be a good writer, students need to write more, and write earlier.

At John Glenn Schools, all grades focus on the number six.

Kay Davidson wrote the book called: “The Simple 6”. It simplifies how writing is scored.

Kay Davidson author, "The Simple 6" said, “Basically what I’ve done is taken a complicated analyzed it to the inth degree and that is what I always say in the workshops and I always say here are the six things here are six phrases if you do these six things whether you are take ISTEP or not, these will make you a better writer.”

Davidson’s traveled throughout Indiana, helping students strive for the perfect score, which is a six.

“In the last three years I have really expanded my district from being in northern Indiana to schools in Muncie to Lafayette to all the way to Evansville,” Davidson said.

At Urey, teachers are familiar with Davidson’s book.

English teacher, Lori Kois said, “If we can make the students understand a little bit of what is expected of them and maybe use language they are familiar they can relate to I think that we have a better chance of them improving writing.”

At Urey middle, they focus on one simple step at a time, starting with the ISTEP exams.

Urey Middle School principal Janet Carey said, “What we've really focused on is to say here are your scores we missed it by one point, what could you do to earn one extra point.”

Hopefully by the time students get to grade 12, they'll have all six steps down.

Many school districts try to focus on the simple six rules before ISTEP tests, but writing is not something you can learn over night.

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