"The Universal Writing Continuum (UWC) provides a comprehensive writing instruction tool and record-keeping system for teachers to manage the numerous, complex, and multi-faceted aspects associated with a process-approach to writing. There is a multitude of resources related to the teaching of writing, such as sample letters to parents, video clips of instructional practices, UWC position papers on best practices, and grade-appropriate rubrics. The beauty of the system is its ability to assist a teacher with the daily task of keeping on top of students’ progress, giving individual student feedback on their writing assignments in a timely manner, and maintaining specific and accurate records on each student. When both the teacher and the students have access to the digital tools needed for using this program, such as classroom computers or tablets, and the brief training needed to effectively use the tools provided by the program, the benefits it provides for productive writing workshop time is enhanced."
"One of the more helpful aspects of the UWC is the way in which it helps the teacher assess student writing. Through a merging of the 6 Traits, along with the three types of writing advanced by the Common Core Standards, the UWC identifies writing qualities that would enable a teacher to assess a writing sample at the Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, Advanced, or Advanced + levels within each of the three types of writing from Pre-K to 12th grade and it includes a continuum from first to second semester to account for – and indicate an expectation for – growth in writing over the course of a school year. Sample anchor papers are provided for each type of writing at each level of proficiency."
"In NCTE’s 2013 position statement on the importance of formative assessment, ten statements are listed that describe what its benefits are to the learner, each of which is addressed in one way or another in the UWC. Below I list each item on the list and how UWC provides for that."
- Requires students to take responsibility for their own learning. UWC: Students can log into their account to look at the comments a teacher has made in response to a paper that has been submitted; students upload their papers into their account.
- Communicates clear, specific learning goals. UWC: Teachers can access a large bank of comments & feedback to use, as well as add their own favorite or much-used comments to the bank.
- Focuses on goals that represent valuable educational outcomes with applicability beyond the learning context. UWC: Because the CCSS are integrated into the scoring rubrics, the greater purposes for developing strong writers are inherent to this program.
- Identifies the student’s current knowledge/skills and the necessary steps for reaching the desired goals. The UWC is set up so that students can receive feedback that helps them improve their written submissions. The rubrics are visible, easy for teachers to employ and for students to read. The Universal Writing Continuum provides an in-depth progression of skills from Pre-K to 12th grade across the Traits and processes involved with writing development.
- Requires development of plans for attaining the desired goals. UWC: Teachers can list specific goals for students in each student’s file and can keep notes on each child pertaining to conferences, skills to address, next-steps in writing progression from draft to final copy.
- Encourages students to self-monitor progress toward the learning goals. UWC: See #1.
- Provides examples of learning goals including, when relevant, the specific grading criteria or rubrics that will be used to evaluate the student’s work. UWC: See #4
- Provides frequent assessment, including peer and student self-assessment and assessment embedded within learning activities. UWC:All the tools needed for assessing student work are provided; the frequency is dependent on how often the teacher uses the tools.
- Includes feedback that is non-evaluative, specific, timely, and related to the learning goals, and that provides opportunities for the student to revise and improve work products and deepen understandings. UWC: See # 2
- Promotes metacognition and reflection by students on their work. UWC: Not sure about this. Is there a way for students to upload personal comments and reflections on their work and progress?
"When all the components of the program are completed, this will be unmatched by anything else that’s currently available."