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Writing Excellence at Independence

Writing Excellence at Independence

Since its founding, The Independence School has demonstrated a commitment to curriculum and instruction that help students maximize their potential in all academic areas. Writing has always been and continues to be a strong focus for the school, even with a growing emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math.

According to results from the most recent Writing Assessment Program (“WrAP”), 92% of Independence eighth-grade students scored at an “Above Average” level for writing and more than a third of the students scored at the highest possible level. The WrAP is a test developed by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) as a direct measure of student writing achievement. According to the ERB website, ERB’s professional assessment readers use analytic scoring with a 6-trait, 6-point rubric to deliver reliable and consistent scores. The Independence students were measured against the norms of other independent schools nationally.

“While many schools no longer teach writing to the extent that Independence does, we continue to believe strongly in the importance of all areas of the communication arts,” said Vicky Yatzus, Head of School.

She cited an April 2019 research report, “Education Research & Development: Learning from the Field,” by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which states, “Success in college, work, and life depends upon communicating and expressing ideas effectively through writing.”

Independence’s unique sequential and spiraling writing curriculum is strong from preschool through eighth grade. Daily lessons in phonics and grammar, regular practice of writing mechanics, and personalized reading instruction form a strong foundation for these young writers. As grade levels advance, students have many opportunities to write and practice expository, descriptive, persuasive and narrative writing. Teachers provide detailed feedback in order for students to make continuous improvement. Extensive reading of both fiction and non-fiction throughout the curriculum exposes students to the writing of others and helps them to become more competent and confident writers themselves.

ERB (Educational Records Bureau) is a not-for-profit organization providing admission and achievement assessment as well as instructional services for pre-K through grade 12. More information on the WrAP and the scoring process can be found by clicking here.


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