Archived Grant: Expository Literacy Grant

Request for Proposal (RFP)

CAPP College-Going Culture

The Expository Literacy Grant project, involving thirteen lower performing high schools is intended to improve the readiness of diverse high school graduates for the academic literacy required by bachelor's-level university coursework. Using the training and modules of the CSU Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC), teachers at the participating schools are also provided support for collaborative work on specific activities including development of curriculum maps and common formative assessments. Work is documented in an annual portfolio of evidence submitted to CAPP Project Coordinator for review and comment.

CAPP supports teachers' participation in professional learning communities focused on several key activities, including:

  • detailed analysis of data;
  • development of common, formative assessments and curriculum maps;
  • use of the Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC); and,
  • ongoing dialogue and collaboration.

Katrine Czajkowski, a Teacher on Special Assignment with the Sweetwater Union High School District, is the Project Coordinator working with teacher leaders at the participating schools and reviewing annual portfolio submissions. Robby Ching of CSU Sacramento also provides guidance and information to the project. Over the course of the project, the site project directors come together for twice-yearly in-person professional learning meetings. At the final meeting in June 2012, Tom Adams of the California Department of Education provided an update on the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts & Literacy and opportunities for teacher involvement in state implementation.

CAPP produced this short video of one of the semi-annual teacher professional learning conferences with teacher project leaders from each site.

External Evaluation of Cohort 1: Findings and Observations

WestEd recently completed a summative evaluation of the Expository Literacy Grant. WestEd evaluated CAPP's project in a cohort of six high schools located in diverse communities of California. The evaluation report includes six years of quantitative data from CalPASS for three schools, including data on student transitions into postsecondary institutions, and qualitative data collected from all six schools. The schools include rural, urban and suburban settings and range in size from 650 to more than 2,300 students. All of the schools were in the lowest three deciles of the Academic Performance Index when selected for funding. Significant findings and observations noted in the evaluation include:

  • Through collaborative efforts, professional learning communities in each high school developed a more coherent English language arts curriculum within and across grade levels, and aligned it with California English language arts standards and postsecondary expectations.
  • Teachers made a shift toward increasing their use of expository texts and increasing instruction of skills required for reading those texts in the English language/arts curriculum.
  • Teachers used student performance data more frequently and consistently to inform instruction.
  • More students from schools participating in this grant program than comparable students from non-participating schools continued to a California postsecondary institution.
  • A smaller percentage of students at ELG schools than at non-ELG schools enrolled in remedial English classes at California community colleges.

CAPP thanks the ELG teachers and administrators who participated in the grant and provided critical information for the evaluation. Thanks also to the WestEd team led by Tracy Huebner and to CalPASS analysts.

More information on the project: