Skip to main content

Writer's Workbench: The Keys to Writing Smarter

Teacher viewing Writer's Key progress monitoring screen.


Project Name
Keys to Writing Smarter: An Online Writing Workbench for Students with High Incidence Disabilities


CAST has partnered with Arizona State University to develop and evaluate the impact of a professional learning ecosystem to support 7th and 8th-grade teachers in providing more effective writing instruction to students with high-incidence disabilities. The project builds on a long line of CAST’s research and development to support improved student writing and teacher writing instruction through the application of the UDL framework. The goal of the project is to support significant and meaningful improvements in teachers’ writing knowledge and self-efficacy around writing instruction.

This project combines the use of Writer’s Key — an online writing environment built on the principles of Universal Design for Learning and aligned with state and national writing standards — with online professional learning modules that apply effective research into practice to support teachers to improve their writing instruction. The module process, co-designed with current and former ELA educators, includes cycles of exploration, design, implementation and reflection with other teachers.

CAST will be conducting a research study during the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 academic years to study the impact of Writer’s Key for teachers and on student outcomes. During the study, teachers will have the option to earn graduate school credit as they participate in professional development modules and professional learning communities.


2017 – 2022


Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education


Arizona State University

Project Leadership

Tracey Hall, PI, CAST
Karen Harris, Co-PI, ASU
Stephen Graham, Co-PI, ASU


For more information about this project, please contact Tracey Hall.

Top of Page