DECEMBER 19, 2012
The team here at iCivics is ecstatic to learn that our most ambitious project to date, Drafting Board, is more effective at teaching argumentative (persuasive) writing than traditional teaching approaches. According to CIRCLE, the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement at Tufts University, Drafting Board had a "significant and positive effect on essay scores" for students whose classes were randomly assigned to the tool compared with those who learned using existing methods. We're especially excited because the students only used Drafting Board for an average of 2-3 days; we're very eager to see what difference we'd make if they spent even more time using this tool to learn the vital language and civic skill of persuasive writing.
Students were randomly assigned to use Drafting Board or the regular curriculum; 3,700 students then wrote persuasive letters on school policy that were blind-graded by trained research assistants at Tufts University. The experimental students performed better than the control students to a statistically significant degree. After accounting for race, ethnicity, gender, free or reduced-price lunch eligibility and use of outlines and drafts, we found that the intervention still had a significant and positive effect on essay scores. When differences in the students’ schools and neighborhoods (e.g., student/teacher ratios, size of schools, and poverty rates) were also taken into consideration, the students who used Drafting Board still performed better. Students used Drafting Board for only 2-3 class periods, but it had a significant impact on their writing skills.
To read more or to find a link to the full study, please visit CIRCLE's blog post, iCivics' Drafting Board Module Boosts Students' Writing Skills.