Writing & Pedagogy, Vol 10, No 3 (2018)

Writing development and education standards in cross-national perspective

Jill V. Jeffery, Nikolaj Elf, Gustaf Bernhard Skar, Kristen Campbell Wilcox
Issued Date: 25 Feb 2019


The importance of writing ability for academic and career advancement is increasingly a focus of education research and policy globally. In response to concerns regarding students' writing competence, policymakers and curriculum designers have begun placing more emphasis on writing in nationwide academic standards. However, given the complexity of writing as a cognitively dynamic and socioculturally situated activity, representing the development of writing competence in standards that vary by grade level is challenging, and little is known regarding how educational systems vary in approaching this challenge. In response to calls for more worldwide writing research, we undertake a cross-national examination of writing standards with the aim of informing policymakers, those involved in the research and development of writing standards, and researchers interested in writing development, by comparing how three educational systems (in Denmark, Norway, and the US) have represented writing development in curricular standards. To that end, we ask: (1) How do the three educational systems variously frame writing development in grade-level distinctions for writing standards? (2) How do the developmental pathways implicated in these grade-level distinctions relate to theory and research on writing competence and its development?

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