Susan Hargrave, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
CAST Project Lead
Elizabeth (Boo) Murray, Sc.D.; M.Ed.
U.S. Department of Education, Steppingstones of Technology Innovation for Children with Disabilities (CFDA 84.327A)
The Massachusetts Department of Education, in partnership with CAST, is developing and evaluating a web-based tool that will integrate the principles of Universal Design for Learning with research-based writing strategies to support middle school students in inclusive classrooms as they develop their writing skills. The project builds on CAST’s ten years of research in literacy and design of research-based instructional approaches based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning.
The overall goal of the project is to provide Massachusetts middle school students and their teachers with an online tool to improve students’ writing. Animated characters will remind students of critical features of the writing process and provide examples demonstrating the features. The MassONE Writer will also model strategies students can use to plan, organize, write, revise and edit their work. Students may use checklists to help monitor their writing for essential content and mechanics. The tool will also support collaborative writing by allowing groups of peers to read and comment on each others' work. To support the teacher, the MassONE Writer will include progress monitoring tools. Teachers will be able to schedule and administer probes of student writing in process. Results will be graphically displayed so that teachers and students can monitor progress in writing at both the content and mechanics levels. Teachers can analyze this data to determine appropriate instructional interventions.
At the conclusion of the project the team will have created the MassONE Writer online tool suitable for field-testing, along with a sampling of persuasive writing activities and scaffolded instruction, a user instruction guide, and a formative evaluation report.