Assessment-Driven Writing Instruction for Middle School

Inquiry By Design offers an array of tools to help teachers accurately describe and assess student writing in order to provide effective student feedback and to best gauge next steps for individual and group instruction.

Formative and Summative Assessment

Modeled after the Cambridge Assessment for English Language Arts, Inquiry By Design’s pre- and post-test establish a formative baseline that guides instruction and provides a basis for measuring growth. Students demonstrate proficiency on key ELA moves including

  • Use of text-based evidence to show comprehension as it relates to fundamental questions about author’s craft, interpretation, and character analysis.
  • Summary writing that focuses on the big ideas of a text and the selection of appropriate supporting text-based details.  

Error Journal

Inquiry By Design uses “error journals” as a practical solution to the problem of engaging students in regular and frequent inquiries into their own sentence-level errors, so that they learn to identify, track, and solve these errors with the help of a style manual. 

Targeted Writing Resources

Curriculum-embedded, formative assessment tools, including rubrics and checklists, help teachers evaluate and describe student writing in ways that accurately identify next steps for teaching and learning.

Summary Writing

This flexible, short guide dovetails with units throughout the year to support students’ efforts to write effective summaries. Highlights include making clear the difference between retelling and summarizing and providing supported summary writing practice opportunities linked to the units of study. Rubrics, checklists, and anchor papers help teachers identify and target areas for growth in this critical form of writing.