The first sign that things may be amiss is, well, the sign over to the right that is posted prominently on the front page of the Kid Writing site.
Here's what the text on the bottom reads:
If you have done any action or scientific research on the Efficacy of Kid Writing on children's literacy achievement, please contact Eileen Feldgus...
Contact me too because I am dying to see what is likely the only scrap of scientific research on the abomination known as Kid Writing.
Some of you (the ones who've actually followed the links to the Kid Writing site) are probably saying how can there be no scientific research on Kid Writing? Right on the front page, there's a research link that brings me to a page that boldly proclaims:
Current Research is Supportive of the Kid Writing Approach
And, below that we have two "research papers" that appear to be the research base for Kid Writing:
There's also a link to the oddly titled Action Research on Kid Writing by Mary Ellen McCloy (doc) on the front page.
Thing is -- none of this is even close to being research. And, more importantly, none of the "research" is on Kid Writing.
The first paper is a position paper by an advocacy group co-authored by the International Reading Association, a whole language shill group. Research is cited in the paper, but none of it is on Kid Writing -- it's all on other people's reading programs. This is the current scam du jour in education research and I'll cover it in more detail in my next post.
The second is a paper on early reading that, like the first, is neither research or specific to Kid Writing.
The third shows some promise -- it's actually about Kid Writing. However, it's not research -- it's based on a survey given to students, parents, and teachers about their feelings toward Kid Writing. The first paragraph tells you all you need to know about the seriousness of the scholarship:
The word kindergarten was created from two German words that mean children's garden. As a gardener tends to his garden with patience and care, kindergarten intends to treat young children gently, like flowers ready to unfold, so they can develop to their fullest when they are ready. If you hear the word kindergarten, your mind may conjure wonderful images of children frolicking and playing. There is often an element of surprise to hear that these five year olds follow an intensive curriculum.I also spotted a fancy bar graph that shows:
An evaluation of the individual student's progress was determined using the Conventions of Writing Developmental Scale (Kid Writing, pp.169-179, appendix D). Using the students' portfolios and present journals, thirty-four students from two classes were rated on their writing in September as compared to June, as indicated in Figure 1.Bonus points to the first person who can tell me what's wrong with this "research."
That's it. That is the extent of the research on the "research based" Kid Writing. Mind you, this program is over ten years old and was actively used in both authors' classrooms. Yet, no one ever thought to measure student learning using a conventional standardized measure of literacy.
Sadly, this is the norm for most educational programs in use today. This is the standard scholarship. This is the reason you get edu-jargon instead of serious research. This is why student performance is so low. And, this is why we have NCLB and Reading First.
Continue on to the Exciting conclusion to our story in Part III: Kid Writing: Education's Scam du Jour.