Improving student writing using a continuum

In an effort to improve student writing, teachers at this New South Wales school developed a writing continuum for students in Kindergarten to Year 10.

In his latest Teacher video Greg Whitby, Executive Director of Schools in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta, speaks to Christina Luzi from St John XXIII Catholic Learning Community in Stanhope Gardens about the program. Luzi says that this program came about after staff at her school took a close look at their NAPLAN data. They identified a clear problem with their student writing – while their learners are great at writing long pieces, they struggled to sustain and develop their ideas.

‘So last year we endeavoured to create a writing continuum from Kindergarten all the way through to Year 10 which identifies for students what good writers can do – at a midway point in their year group and by the end of that year,' Luzi shares.

As a team, they created the acronym SILVER, which stands for:

S – sustaining
I – ideas
L – logic
V – vocabulary
E – evaluating
R – refining

‘What we've done is put this [in] the learning spaces to make learning visible for them and to show them what good writers can do at different levels of the continuum,' Luzi says.

At the end of last year students were asked to provide their best writing sample, and then along with their teacher, they identified where they were at on the continuum.

This information was then placed on a data wall in the learning space in proximity to where the student was on that learning spectrum.

‘On that card they have two to three goals of ways they can improve their writing to progress to the next point,' Luzi says.


Do you have a school-wide plan to improve student writing in your school? How are strategies for improvement shared amongst staff to ensure consistency?

This school uses data walls to make learning visible for students and staff. How are you monitoring and communicating progress and next steps in your school?