Validating the Success of the Expository Reading and Writing Course

The Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) was developed by a task force of California State University (CSU) faculty and high school educators interested in improving the literacy of high school seniors. Originally designed as a college preparatory grade 12 English course, the ERWC emphasizes the study of expository, analytical, and argumentative reading and writing.*

In 2016, the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, in partnership with CSU and WestEd, received a U.S. Department of Education i3 Validation grant to further refine, scale, and validate the course. Through the grant, the ERWC will be revised for grade 12 and expanded to grade 11. WestEd researchers will evaluate the impact of the ERWC course and are currently looking for high schools in California and Washington to participate in the evaluation. See “ERWC Study Recruitment” below for more information.

Key Research Questions

  • Does enrollment in the ERWC in grade 11 have a positive impact on ELA/literacy skills?
  • To what extent are key components of the ERWC being implemented with fidelity?

Methodology

WestEd researchers are using a randomized controlled trial to assess how the grade 11 ERWC impacts student achievement as measured by the Smarter Balanced ELA/literacy summative assessment. Students assigned to ERWC are the treatment group and students assigned to a non-ERWC “English 11” course are the control group.

Intended Impact

In 2015, WestEd researchers published findings from an i3 Development grant indicating the impact of enrollment in the ERWC in grade 12 was positive and statistically significant. The current study will inform decisions about curriculum adoption for grades 11 and 12.

ERWC Study Recruitment

WestEd is recruiting California and Washington high schools to participate in the ERWC study.

Register your district’s high school(s) to receive teacher professional learning at no cost to implement the ERWC curriculum. Participating teachers will be asked to provide input in the development and modification of the curriculum through their piloting of it.

For information on how to participate, download the Recruitment for the Study of the Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum flyer (PDF).

*To learn more about the ERWC curriculum, visit the ERWC website.