Education Policy Analytics Lab

Evaluation of the National Writing Project school partnership: Report on a social network analysis

Authors: Min Sun

Abstract: Analyses presented in this report involve social network analysis of teachers’ professional networks through which they received help from colleagues with writing instruction and the extent to which such teacher networks could diffuse the expertise teachers gained from external professional development. The analyses were grounded in National Writing Project’s theory of change regarding writing instruction: (a) teachers can develop knowledge of writing and writing instruction, and (b) teachers who are well-informed and effective in their writing instructional practices can help colleagues improve their knowledge and practice. I examined both the direct effects of professional development programs on the change in classroom instructional practices of participants and the spillover effect of these professional development programs that can result from promoting teacher collaboration and diffusion of knowledge. Following prior work (Penuel et al., in press; Sun et al., 2011), the spillover effect was defined as the impact of professional development that goes above and beyond just the teachers who participated in the professional development. Teachers who may or may not directly participate in professional development can benefit from such programs through collegial interactions, i.e., by interacting and learning from the participants of the professional development. In this report, I compared these two types of effects in partnership and delayed partnership schools. I primarily used quasi-experimental data analysis approach by incorporating multiple strategies to account for selection bias and confounding variables. Some main findings are summarized below.

Writing Project Social Network Analysis

APA Citation: Sun, M. (2012). Evaluation of the National Writing Project School Partnership: Report on a social network analysis. Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Tech.