ATLANTA—Georgia State University Professor Gary Bingham and colleagues from Michigan State University and Texas A&M University have received a four-year, $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences to support preschool-aged children’s early writing development.
The goal of the grant, entitled, “Development and Validation of Complementary Measures of Early Writing: Teacher Practices and Child Outcomes,” is to develop and validate early writing tools designed to assess young children’s early writing development and teachers’ instructional practices that support such skills. Developing these two tools will build on Bingham and colleagues’ previous writing research and provide much-needed guidance to teachers on instructional practices that best support children’s early writing development.
“Although children’s early writing skills are foundational to early literacy development and school achievement, my research shows that preschool teachers are not enacting early literacy practices that best support student learning,” Bingham said. “Findings from this study will help teachers know where children are in their early writing development and point to instructional practices that will best support these young learners.”
Bingham, who also serves as director of the Urban Child Study Center in Georgia State’s College of Education & Human Development, has conducted early writing-based literacy programs and research for over a decade. A central focus of this scholarship is ensuring that assessments are valid and reliable indicators of all children’s learning, particularly those from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds.
Bingham and his team will incorporate assessments developed as part of this grant into the WRITE system, an integrated instructional and assessment-based system for guiding teachers to document and utilize information to support children’s literacy learning. This grant will also provide much-needed data about preschool teachers’ instructional practices that support early writing skills that can then be targeted for intervention.
“Assessment is the cornerstone of effective instruction,” Bingham said. “If teachers understand where children are in their learning, they can plan much more effective learning experiences to meet the varied needs of children in their classrooms. This innovative project will help design a system for supporting teacher knowledge and practice around children’s early writing development.”