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Panel Calls for Writing Revolution in Schools

A new report by the National Commission on Writing in America's Schools, entitled "The Neglected 'R': The Need for a Writing Revolution," calls for a new focus on writing in America's schools. The panel was convened by the College Board, the sponsor of the SAT. The Board plans to add a writing assessment to the SAT, beginning in 2005. According to data from the 1998 National Assessment of Educational Progress only about one-fourth of 4th, 8th, and 12th graders write at their grade level. The report calls for a national focus on improving writing, including a stronger focus on writing in academic standards and providing opportunities for writing in all subjects. The commission also recommends doubling the amount of time students spend writing in school.

Lucy McCormack Calkins, the director of the Reading and Writing Project at Teachers Colege, said that the current focus on raising reading and mathematics scores may be a barrier to increasing the attention placed on writing. "I get the feeling they are trying to use this report to rally people around the importance of writing," said Calkins. "It is sensitively written and," she added, "it acknowledges the breadth of writing opportunities that students should have.

The article, entitled "Panel Calls for Writing Revolution in Schools" appeared in the May 1st edition of Education Week .

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