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Professional Development

The Formative Writing Framework: Advancing Balanced Literacy Through Engagement and Empowerment

Improve literacy outcomes by supporting teachers to develop authentic writing performance tasks, collaboratively analyze writing data, and implement targeted instructional supports.

Contact Us About This Service

Who Will Benefit

English Language Arts Teachers, K-12

Teacher Leaders and Instructional Coaches, K-12

School and District Administrators

What You Will Learn

A teacher-driven professional learning model, the Formative Writing Framework was developed to promote student agency and teacher ownership of improved outcomes. The Formative Writing Framework was born out of educator demand for:

  • Reliable data about student writing performance
  • Clearer methodologies for writing instruction
  • High-quality, teacher-driven professional learning
  • A balance of skills in the literacy curriculum

Service Details

Introductory Seminar – Curious to explore the power of writing in your system? Join us for a short introductory seminar. Together with WestEd, you and your team will develop writing performance tasks and perform data collection, as well as analysis protocols that advance writing instruction and improve literacy outcomes.

Comprehensive Support  – Interested in deep, systemic support to start closing the literacy and writing gaps? Work with WestEd at the school or district level on an approach tailored to your existing resources and programs.

What Makes This Service Unique

Writing is critical.

  • Writing ability is the single largest indicator for college and career success. — National Commission on Writing for America’s Families, Schools, and Colleges
  • Extended writing produces greater reading comprehension gains than any other single reading intervention. — Carnegie Corporation of New York

Do your teachers have the knowledge and skills they need to support student writing?

  • Most teacher preparation programs have little or no focus on writing instruction. — National Council on Teacher Quality
  • Many schools have no mechanism in place to track data about the development of student writing.

To help schools address this challenge, WestEd is introducing the Formative Writing Framework, a new approach to improving literacy outcomes by supporting to develop authentic writing performance tasks, collaboratively analyze writing data, and implement targeted instructional supports.

The Formative Writing Framework encourages continuous growth through four key routines:

  • Design – Educators design engaging and relevant writing performance tasks, rooted in a deep understanding of the cognitive demands of reading and writing at each grade band.
  • Write – Students explore and respond to the tasks.
  • Investigate – Educator teams conduct an investigative analysis of student work, employing descriptors and metrics that yield actionable data.
  • Act – Together, teachers and students set incremental and achievable goals that target specific writing skills, flexibly employing research-based strategies to support continuous growth.


Cost varies based on the scope of support. For information please contact Susan Levensonat or

Learn More

To learn more about The Formative Writing Framework, contact Susan Levenson at or