Sample Research Paper on Writing in Kindergarten and first grade


In this article, the researchers were devoted to develop and validate measures for writing
beginners. A total of 233 kindergarten and first grade students took part in this research to
examine a sentence writing measure’s technical adequacy. For a novel qualitative score and
production scores, the researchers investigated the sensitivity, validity, and reliability to growth.
The investigated scores were noted to be sensitive to growth. They also had an acceptable
alternate-form reliability, inter-rater agreement, and validity. The results provide a significant
step forward, bearing in mind the significance of developing early writing achievement measures
that are technically adequate. The researcher recognizes the numerous challenges faced by young
children during their early writing development and is determined to help in finding solutions to
some of them. The sentence writing task has many potential applications; it identifies students
with possible writing disabilities, and monitors the kids’ response to instructions given. The
collected data suggested a substantial potential for the adoption and application of sentence
writing as a tool for screening and monitoring progress.

Investigation of production and qualitative scores to assess the technical adequacy of a task of

writing sentence among the first grade and kindergarten kids
Students with writing disabilities have been ignored over the years due to the
inadequacy of scientifically validated early writing assessments. To monitor how a child is
responding to learning to write and determine those susceptible to writing disabilities, valid
assessments are required.

Young writers face numerous challenges during early writing development. These
challenges must be considered for accurate assessment of this development. The task of
coordinating self-regulatory, social and cognitive processes to create extended text is very
complex (Rerninger et al. 1997). Unlike the experienced writers who have mastery of skills and
processes, young writers require alternative composition models to take into account their yet-to-
develop competencies. To generate and encode ideas, a simpler approach is necessary for
children. Planning and revision is unfavorable among children. For instance, ideas must be
generated and transcribed on paper during translation. This demands substantial cognitive energy
because it not yet automated.

The kind of texts produced also explains the difference between advanced and
beginning writers. The attention of beginners is likely to shift from word spelling and creating
individual letters to paragraphs, sentences, or phrases construction. The complexity of texts
increases with advancement of proficiency (Coker & Rirchey, 2008). The beginners’ texts
progress to organized texts and extended narratives from random word combinations. Students at
this level of development require assessments that elicit multiple or single sentences. This is
explained by the modest thematic complexity and length expectations. An early writing
assessment calls for a scoring procedure that would tap the transcription-related skills.

Writing assessment has a long history, including such approaches as CBM,
analytical scoring and holistic scoring. Raters do not focus on a particular writing dimension to
make a global quality judgment, with holistic scoring. The efficiency and inter-rater reliability of
holistic scoring led to its embracement. Holistic scales were, however, limited due to their
insensitivity to particular textual features. The scoring systems validity has raised questions
among researchers. The brevity of texts written by children invalidates the holistic ratings use
(Gansle et al. 2004).

Compared to holistic scales, greater reliability is evident in analytical scoring. In
terms of labor intensiveness, however, it surpasses the former. Analytical scales help to design
relevant writing instructions and monitor progress.

The 6+1 Trait system is the most preferred analytical scale. It targets 7 domains of
writing; presentation, conventions, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, organization, and ideas
(Coker & Rirchey, 2008). Using the traits, students and teachers are believed to comprehend
good writing. They also learn to assess writing accurately, in addition to developing a shared
vocabulary for discussing writing.

Graham & Harris, (2000) criticized both analytical and holistic scoring systems
by citing their inability to demonstrate the technical features applied during monitoring of
progress. For young students, scoring systems must meet a certain threshold to observe the
progress of writing. A developmental writing model must be their basis. Moreover, such a
system must be valid, reliable, and sensitive to growth. Currently, details on the above two
scoring systems remain scanty and much need to be done. The curriculum-based measurement
(CBM) is a promising approach to writing assessment.

Writing prompt is included in the CBM’s written expression measure. In response
to this prompt, students use three minutes to write. Three indices are the common score lines of
responses: number of correct sequence of words, number of words correctly spelled, and number
of written words. These indices are believed to validly indicate writing abilities. A total of 27
writing CBM studies were recently identified. All the studies revealed consistence in the high
rates of inter-rater agreement.

The traditional CBM writing prompt also has its own shortcomings. For students
likely to struggle with transcription demands, it is difficult to create an assessment. The
composing complexity is likely to frustrate them. One scholar, Ritchey (2006, 2008), was able to
address this challenge. He developed measures for spelling, sound dictation, and letter writing.
Over the years, just a few extant researchers have focused on the primary grade
students’ writing assessments. Screening and monitoring require a more validated assessment
supported by scientific research. To come up with seamless and flexible writing measures,
McMaster and Espin (2007) recognized the much needed effort for application within an
accountability system. To quote their words in page 82, the scholars believe that in such a
system, ‘students at risk for falling to meet standards are identified, intervention effectiveness is
evaluated, and students' progress within and across grade levels is monitored. Integration of word
and letter level skills with the problems faced during generation of extended text is much more
possible with a seamless assessment system. Kindergarten and first grade students possess a
potential range of writing competencies that are hardly captured by the current measures used to
examine letter writing and spelling. The research study tries to investigate the young minds’
writing assessment, at a period when vibrant emergence of composition skills is vividly evident.

In their study, the researchers examined the application of a sentence writing
assessment given to first grade and kindergarten students. Their aim was to examine whether the
commonly used qualitative and production scores were reliable, valid, sensitive to growth or not.



A total of 233 young students took part in the research. They came from
Northeastern part of the US. Students from diverse ethnic background were included in the
sample. 40 females and 36 females came from kindergarten. 7 students with learning disability
also participated. Of the total sample, 75 females and 82 males were first grade students. 7
students with autism were included.

Sentence writing was one of the measures developed in this study. In response to
a sentence prompt, the students’ ability was tested. There was also administration of two norm-
referenced writing assessments. Several procedures were used to score student responses. The
total number of correct word sequences, total number of words spelled correctly, and total words
number were included in the production scores. The researchers had developed a qualitative
score for responses. Each sentence could earn 15 possible points.

To assess written language, the researchers selected two norm-referenced
measures. Each grade level had a separate assessment. The researchers aimed at determining
global writing skills among kindergarten students. They therefore administered The Test of Early
Written Language-2nd Edition.

The researchers assessed the validity related to criterion. The 4 scoring methods
were compared. For writing samples and spelling, W scores were used. Contextual and basic

writing were assessed using raw scores. Between the criterion measures and sentence writing
scores, correlations had wide variations across the grade.
Kindergarten students

Between basic writing and production scores, there was a range of .20 to .46
validity coefficients. Between the total qualitative score and the subsets were .43 and .46 validity
First grade students

For production scores with spelling and writing samples subsets, the range of
validity coefficients was .25 to .57. Between the broad writing, writing samples and spelling, the
range of validity coefficients was between .53 and .59.

The researchers also examined the students’ gradual sensitivity to growth. The
researchers used SAS PROC Mixed (SAS Institute) to conduct a growth curve analysis. To
investigate whether the level of final performance by students and growth rate were significantly
different from zero, there was testing of unconditional models.

For analyses, the researchers combined both kindergarten and first grade data.
The sample mean slightly differed from the mean predicted estimates for students generated by
the unconditional growth model. At individual level, change over time is presented by growth
curve model, while group performance is estimated by the sample mean.

Every score was sensitive to bimonthly growth. For slope estimates, significant
fixed effects ranged from 1.10-2.03. All scores realized a fixed growth rate. Compared to
kindergarten students, more words had been significantly written by first grade students {t (461)
= 14.24, 5£= 0.82,/)< .0001). Kindergarten students had written 11.67 less words than first grade
students on average, as the school year came to an end. As compared to their younger

counterparts, first grade students performed highly in word spelling. Looking at the total correct
word sequence, a similar pattern prevailed.


With the use of kindergarten and first grade students, the researchers assessed a
sentence writing task in terms of its technical adequacy. Acceptable validity was discovered
following the investigation of both qualitative and production scores. Sensitivity to growth and
inter-rater agreement were also acceptable. The results signify a significant step forward as it is
important to develop early writing that is technically adequate. It is now easy to identify students
with writing disabilities, thanks to this tool known as Sentence Writing task. Among
kindergarten and first grade students, it is also easy to monitor how they respond to instructions.
Any student with a writing disability can maximize their learning using this useful tool that
monitors progress on personalized education program goals (Gansle et al. 2004). When
examining writing with young children, unique psychometric challenges are involved, thus
necessitating further research to attend to these drawbacks.


Coker, D., & Rirchey, K. R. (2008, February). Assessment of early writing: Tasks and tools.
Paper presented at the Pacific Coast Research Conference. Coronado. CA.

Gansle, K. A., Noell, G. H., Vanderheyden, A. M., Slider, N. J., Hoffpauir, L. D., Whitmarsh, E.
L., & Naquin, G. M. (2004). An examination of the criterion validity and sensitivity to
brief intervention of alternate curriculum‐based measures of writing skill. Psychology in
the Schools, 41(3), 291-300.
Graham. S.. & Harris. K. R. (2000). The role of self-regulation and transcription skills in writing
and writing development. Educational Psycholo^st, 35, 3-12.
McMaster, K., &c Espin, C. (2007). Technical features of curriculum-based measurement in
writing: A literature review. The Journal of Special Education, 41, 68-84.
Rerninger, V. W, Vaugfin, K.. Abbott, R. D., Abbott, S., Rogan, 1,., Reed. E. er al. (1997).
Treatment of handwriting problems in beginning writers: Transfer from handwriting to
campoúiion. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89, 652-666.
Ritchey, K. D. (2006), Learning to write: Progress monitoring tools for beginning and at-risk
writers. TEACHING Exceptional Children. 3SK2), 22-26.