4W Impact on Student Achievement

All students are capable of critical thinking when provided the support
and tools to reach their fullest potential.*

Do you have the tools you need to close the achievement gap?

♦ In a class of 6th grade Developing Readers & Writers (DRW), on average 40% of students earned a perfect score on their first chapter tests, only 10% scored Below Basic (BB), and no students scored Far Below Basic (FBB).  (DRW classes are comprised of students who had 5th grade CST scores of BB & FBB in English Language Arts.)  A 4W writing prompt was used for each unit and supported students to respond with clear and substantive essays.  Karen West, Mulholland Middle School in LAUSD, had never seen test scores and writing samples of this caliber from DRW students. That year, her students CST scores had the highest gains in Language Arts she had ever achieved.

♦ When CST scores were reported in August 2011, Olivia Naturman at Hesby Oaks attributed her results in history --the highest in LAUSD-- to the 4W model.  Olivia's classes include English Learners, and students in GATE and Special Education.  94% of her 8th graders scored Proficient or Advanced; none scored Far Below Basic. In 2012, she went to 95% with 85% of students scoring Advanced and none scoring BB or FBB.  And in 2013, students went up to 96%.

♦ In Gifted and Talented Education (GATE), 7th graders' use of social science factors was fast and fluid, and enabled them to quickly connect concepts and trace relationships.  Martha Infante and Jennifer Manning, LA Academy in LAUSD, explained that the 4W model was the most powerful tool they have been able to give their students to achieve key GATE objectives of depth and complexity. 

♦ Nancy Ruvalcaba teaches 8th grade US History at Bud Carson Middle School in Hawthorne USD. In August 2010, she attended a Saturday workshop on 4W for 7th grade.  She knew the training would not cover specific 8th grade applications, but she was searching for new strategies to help her teach.  For the spring 2011 semester, she pioneered the 4W model in her US history classes and saw immediate gains in language development and understanding of social science concepts across the board.  She attributes her 28 point bump in 2011 CST scores to the 4W model.

ALL students can achieve critical thinking
when they have the right analytical tools

...and becoming a better thinker is the only way to become a better reader and writer

If your students had higher achievement last year, to what element of your teaching do you attribute your increased effectiveness?
If students had no gains or had losses, what strategies will you pursue this year that you feel will help you increase your effectiveness?

*Olivia Naturman


A 7-minute overview

Karen West, a 6th grade teacher, narrates a powerpoint to explain the 4W model and how she first used it with her students:

4W Narrated PowerPoint

transcript with CST epilogue


A Shared Vision,
A Bold Claim

4W helps students achieve high-level literacy through rigorous critical thinking... which address college readiness and the achievement gap.

The 4W project promotes curriculum reform and supports teacher effectiveness as the most effective ways to achieve widespread school improvement.


Here comes Common Core...
We are ready!  Bring it on!

4W and Common Core

4W in Spanish

Teachers Needed

CALIS is seeking collaboration with department teams who will help assess the impact of a fully articulated 4W model across grades 6-12.

If you or your dept are interested in being part of this transformation effort, please contact CALIS.

For partner teachers: pioneering powerpoints