Outcome Measures for Beginning Writers with Significant Disabilities


AutismThis month, edWeb’s Teaching Students with Autism community held a webinar on measures used to evaluate writing skills in students with developmental disabilities.   Webinar presenter, Dr. Janet Sturm, a Professor at Central Michigan University’s Department of Communication Disorders, showed how formative and summative assessments can be used to foster writing development in students with developmental disabilities (DD). Progress monitoring is essential for assessing student outcomes and examining program efficacy.

This webinar described a set of writing quantity and quality measures. The Developmental Writing Scale (DWS), a 14-point ordinal scale, which ranges from emergent writing (scribbling) to cohesive and coherent paragraph level writing (Sturm, Cali, Nelson, Staskowski, 2012), serves as the anchor measure and was developed to be sensitive to small changes in writing quality in beginning writers. A second measure, Text Type Diversity (Cali & Sturm, 2010) enables assessment of the genre production (e.g., personal narratives, stories, opinions, plans) of beginning writers.

Measures of topic diversity, total intelligible words, and total unique words are also used to show progress in writers with DD. Through case-based information, webinar attendees were shown how the measures are linked to the Common Core State Standards and learned how to use these measures to identify individualized goals and show progress for students with DD.

Join the Teaching Students with Autism community on edWeb.net and take a quiz to receive a CE Certificate for viewing this webinar.  All of the past webinars and quizzes can be found in the Resource Library.

Teaching Students with Autism is a professional learning community (PLC) that offers free webinars and online discussions to help educators learn strategies and discover new ideas and resources to support the needs of students with autism, particularly advances in technology that can lead to significant breakthroughs in communication and learning. This is a collaborative community where educators can share information to help support the needs of students with autism.


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