6-Traits Research

6-Traits Research


Research: 6-Traits Proven to Improve Student Writing

Rooted in research

More than 20 years of support for the 6 Traits
 
If you’re like many teachers, you’ve probably had kids approach you with their writing and ask, Is this good? Am I done? or Is this what you want? These are typical questions from students when they haven’t yet learned the research-based characteristics of all good writing — the Six Traits of Writing.

After teachers take the mystery out of what is “good,” kids understand that their writing has to possess the traits of ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions.

The original research
During the 1980s, Education Northwest curriculum experts developed the 6+1 Trait Writing Model®, with the help of willing teachers. Since that time, the model has spread in use to all 50 of the United States as well as many other countries around the world. Its common use stems from the fact that all "good" writing includes the 6 traits.

With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards and, for Indiana and other states, the College and Career-Ready Standards (IAS), the traits are easily evident within the listed skills. Kristina Smekens highlighted the traits within each of those documents to help teachers plan for trait-based lessons and improved student achievement.
6 Traits of Writing in the Common Core State Standards6 Traits of Writing in the College & Career-Ready Standards
More recent research

Traits Writing: The Gold Standard of Writing Instruction and Assessment
Written by Lois Bridges, Ph.D.
Traits Writing: The Gold Standard of Writing Instruction and Assessment written by Lois Bridges, PhD
EXCERPT: For more than two decades, the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (now known as Education Northwest) and other researchers have studied the effectiveness of the Trait Model and the professional development tools used to train the teachers who use it. In a nutshell, the traits represent the essential elements of writing inherent in all extended written communication: ideas, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, and presentation. Educators who use the Trait Model center both their instruction and their assessment on helping students understand how these elements work together and interact to create a well-written, cohesive piece that accomplishes the writer’s goal.


An Investigation of the Impact of the 6 + 1 Trait Writing Model, December 2011
Conducted by: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance
An Investigation of the Impact of the 6 + 1 Trait Writing Model, December 2011 Conducted by: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance
EXCERPT: The study was designed to estimate the impact of 6+1 Trait Writing on student achievement in writing during the first year of a typical implementation. This question was addressed among grade 5 students in Oregon using a single “holistic” writing score on student essays. Exploratory analyses using six scores on specific traits of writing were also conducted. Professional development was provided by the model developers in the same year that student assessments were administered. The particulars of school and classroom implementation of the approach were allowed to vary in the schools, without any special oversight or intervention by the developers beyond the technical assistance normally offered to those who receive the materials and professional development.