Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Writing is probably the most complex literacy skill that children learn in schools. Writing requires integration of a number of complex skills, including generating and organising ideas, grammatical and syntactic knowledge, knowledge of text structure, transcription skills and adaptation of word choice. Content knowledge, attention and stamina are also required in order to write a text. The recent NAPLAN and PISA results indicate that the writing skills of Australian students are not progressing as expected, and more effective writing instruction is required in primary and secondary schools to prepare students for further studies and future professions. It is therefore critical that teachers working with developing writers understand how writing is conceptualised in writing research, can analyse and assess research on effective writing instruction for diverse students, can design evidence-based differentiated instruction for their students, and know how to assess their students’ writing and evaluate the effectiveness of their writing instruction.   

In this unit students examine different theoretical models of writing development and the processes and strategies they identify as important for quality writing instruction. They will analyse the best available evidence-based instructional approaches for improving writing quality, and effective strategies to teach sentence level as well as text level writing. This includes effective instruction for different text types and structures along with their purposes and linguistic features. The students will examine and experiment with promising evidence and strategies for creating motivating environments for diverse students, including collaboration and use of digital technologies. Finally, the students will analyse the research on effective feedback and assessment practices in writing. 

The aim of this unit is to provide students with the knowledge and skills to lead their colleagues in developing effective writing instruction and assessments for students with diverse needs.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome Description
LO1Define writing and compare different theories and conceptualisations of it (APST HA 2.1)
LO2Locate and evaluate existing research on developing writing skills and instruction (APST HA 1.2; Lead 2.5)
LO3Design evidence-based writing instruction for diverse groups of students (APST HA 1.6, 2.3, 4.1; Lead 1.1, 2.1, 3.3)
LO4Assess which practices and instructional approaches are best suited for different students, text types and purposes (APST Lead 1.1, 5.2)
LO5Assess different writing skills, provide effective feedback and monitor the progress of their students make on these (APST HA 5.1, 5.2)
LO6Evaluate the effectiveness of their writing instruction (APST APST HA 5.4; Lead 1.2, 1.5, 3.6)


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards: 

1.2 Understand how students learn

Expand understanding of how students learn using research and workplace knowledge.

1.6 Strategies to support full participation of students with disability

Work with colleagues to access specialist knowledge, and relevant policy and legislation, to develop teaching programs that support the participation and learning of students with disability.

2.1 Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area

Support colleagues using current and comprehensive knowledge of content and teaching strategies to develop and implement engaging learning and teaching programs.

2.3 Curriculum, assessment and reporting

Support colleagues to plan and implement learning and teaching programs using contemporary knowledge and understanding of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements.

4.1 Support student participation

Model effective practice and support colleagues to implement inclusive strategies that engage and support all students.

5.1 Assess student learning

Develop and apply a comprehensive range of assessment strategies to diagnose learning needs, comply with curriculum requirements and support colleagues to evaluate the effectiveness of their approaches to assessment.

5.2 Provide feedback to students on their learning

Select from an effective range of strategies to provide targeted feedback based on informed and timely judgements of each student’s current needs in order to progress learning.

5.4 Interpret student data

Work with colleagues to use data from internal and external student assessments for evaluating learning and teaching, identifying interventions and modifying teaching practice.


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards: 

1.1 Physical, Social and intellectual development and characteristics of students

Lead colleagues to select and develop teaching strategies to improve student learning using knowledge of the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students.

1.5 Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities

Lead colleagues to evaluate the effectiveness of learning and teaching programs differentiated for the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.

2.1 Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area

Lead initiatives within the school to evaluate and improve knowledge of content and teaching strategies and demonstrate exemplary teaching of subjects using effective, research-based learning and teaching programs.

2.5 Literacy and numeracy strategies

Monitor and evaluate the implementation of teaching strategies within the school to improve students’ achievement in literacy and numeracy using research-based knowledge and student data.

3.3 Use teaching strategies

Work with colleagues to review, modify and expand their repertoire of teaching strategies to enable students to use knowledge, skills, problem solving and critical and creative thinking.

3.6 Evaluate and improve teaching programs

Conduct regular reviews of teaching and learning programs using multiple sources of evidence including: student assessment data, curriculum documents, teaching practices and feedback from parents/ carers, students and colleagues.

5.2 Provide feedback to students on their learning

Model exemplary practice and initiate programs to support colleagues in applying a range of timely, effective and appropriate feedback strategies.


Topics will include:

  • Theoretical models and key components of writing development
  • Process models of writing (e.g., Hayes & Berninger, 2012)
  • Sociocultural models of writing
  • Text transcription skills including handwriting, keyboarding and word processing
  • Pre-writing: building knowledge and ideas
  • Sentence structures and punctuation
  • Collaborative and creative writing activities
  • Strategy development
  • Self-regulation and reflexive approach to writing


  • Considering the purpose and context
  • Purposes and structures of different text types (narrative, descriptive, expository and persuasive) along with their linguistic features
  • Grammar in context: teaching sentence structures with a focus on form and function
  • Authentic purpose and audience
  • Strategies for creating motivating environments, including multimodal texts, creativity and digital technologies

  • Evidence-based models of text writing
  • Self-regulated strategy development (SRSD)
  • Writing to Learn
  • Writing workshops
  • Process writing
  • Inquiry based writing

  • Effective feedback and assessment practices
  • Metalinguistic knowledge
  • Metatalk
  • Formative and summative assessments
  • Self and peer assessment
  • Progress monitoring and program evaluation
  • Evaluation of writing quality
  • Detecting writing problems and difficulties 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The writing unit is offered in multi-mode format and supported by a unit Learning Management System (LMS) site. In all modes, students are required to use the online learning platform that provides asynchronous access to lectures, readings, and quizzes. In a weekly attendance mode, students are required also to attend tutorials, presentations, and discussions in person in specific physical location/s whereas in an intensive mode the required in-person sessions take place during weekends or other blocks of time determined by the school. In online mode, students are required to participate in a series of interactive online workshops in addition to the regular online learning.

Engagement for learning is the key driver in the delivery of this unit. The unit will facilitate active participation in pedagogical approaches that demonstrate alignment of teaching, learning and assessment and incorporate: 

  • Online digital resources, including reference readings, database and document searches, and recorded lectures from experts;
  • Online or face-to-face small group collaborative learning to foster reflective practice following a personal analysis, evaluation and synthesis of relevant literature and instructional and assessment practices in different schools; 
  • Online forum and chat tools to build a community of learners; and 
  • Problem-based learning sessions to develop necessary skills and analyse and apply learning to school case studies. 

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester.

Mode of delivery: This unit will be offered in one or more of modes of delivery described below, chosen with the aim of providing flexible delivery of academic content.

  • On Campus: Most learning activities or classes are delivered at a scheduled time, on campus, to enable in-person interactions. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.
  • Intensive: In an intensive mode, students require face-to-face attendance on weekends or any block of time determined by the school. Students will have face-to-face interactions with lecturer(s) to further their achievement of the learning outcomes. This unit is structured with required upfront preparation before workshops. The online learning platforms used in this unit provide multiple forms of preparatory and practice opportunities for you students to prepare and revise. 
  • Multi-mode: Learning activities are delivered through a planned mix of online and in-person classes, which may include full-day sessions and/or placements, to enable interaction. Activities that require attendance will appear in a student’s timetable.
  • Online unscheduled: Learning activities are accessible anytime, anywhere. These units are normally delivered fully online and will not appear in a student’s timetable. 
  • Online scheduled: All learning activities are held online, at scheduled times, and will require some attendance to enable online interaction. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit, the students need to complete and pass all three assessment tasks. The first two tasks offer students opportunities to demonstrate knowledge of writing theories, research, instruction and assessments, and the third allows them to show their skills in designing effective practices for their students and schools. 

The first task (20%) consists of weekly quizzes that assess understanding of the core content of lectures and readings and provides students an opportunity to continuously monitor their own learning. The second task (30%) requires students to demonstrate their understanding of issues associated with writing theory and research by explicating their own instructional theory. The third task (50%) is related to knowledge of evidence-based instruction and assessments, and requires the students to apply their knowledge and skills to designing evidence-based writing instruction and assessment for their current or future students.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1 – Weekly Quizzes

Weekly quiz assessing comprehension of the content presented in lectures and readings.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Assessment Task 2 – Written assignment

Analysis of current theories and models of writing and construction of instructional theory that (1) is supported by existing theories and evidence, (2) can guide differentiated instruction and assessment of students, and (3) acknowledges the contextual influences and constraints (e.g., personal philosophy, own knowledge, curriculum, school priorities and resources, parent expectations). 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 3 – Written assignment

Compose a plan for an evidence-based writing instruction and assessment for one school year for current or future students. 


LO4, LO5, LO6

Representative texts and references

ACARA National Literacy Learning Progressions

Graham, S., Bollinger, A., Olson, C. B., D'Aoust, C., MacArthur, C., McCutchen, D., & Olinghouse, N. (2012). Teaching Elementary School Students to Be Effective Writers: A Practice Guide. NCEE 2012-4058. What Works Clearinghouse.

Graham, S., McKeown, D., Kiuhara, S., & Harris, K. R. (2012). A meta-analysis of writing instruction for students in the elementary grades. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104(4), 879-896.

Graham, S., Hebert, M., & Harris, K. R. (2015). Formative assessment and writing: A meta-analysis. The Elementary School Journal, 115(4), 523-547.

Gillespie, A., & Graham, S. (2014). A meta-analysis of writing interventions for students with learning disabilities. Exceptional Children, 80(4), 454-473.

Harris, K. R., Ray, A., Graham, S., & Houston, J. (2019). Answering the challenge: SRSD instruction for close reading of text to write to persuade with 4th and 5th Grade students experiencing writing difficulties. Reading and Writing, 32(6), 1459-1482.

Harris, K. R., Graham, S., Friedlander, B., & Laud, L. (2013). Bring powerful writing strategies into your classroom! Why and how. The Reading Teacher, 66(7), 538-542.

Hochman, J. C., & Wexler, N. (2017). The writing revolution: A guide to advancing thinking through writing in all subjects and grades. John Wiley & Sons.

Mayes, A. S., Coppola, E. C., & Fa, B. (2020). Using theatre to develop writing skills: The story pirates idea storm. The Reading Teacher, 73(4), 473-483.

Myhill, D., Jones, S., & Lines, H. (2018). Supporting less proficient writers through linguistically aware teaching. Language and Education, 32(4), 333-349.

Myhill, D., Jones, S., Watson, A., & Lines, H. (2013). Playful explicitness with grammar: A pedagogy for writing. Literacy, 47(2), 103-111.

Purcell‐Gates, V., Duke, N. K., & Martineau, J. A. (2007). Learning to read and write genre‐specific text: Roles of authentic experience and explicit teaching. Reading Research Quarterly, 42(1), 8-45.

Ryan, M., Weber, L., Barton, G. and Dutton, J. (2022). Exploring the impact of a reflexive, co-designed program of professional learning for the teaching of writing in elementary school classrooms. Literacy Research and Instruction.

Ryan, M., Khosronejad, M., Barton, G., Kervin, L. & Myhill, D. (2021). A reflexive approach to teaching writing: Enablements and constraints in primary school classrooms. Written Communication. 38(3), 417-446. 

Slavin, E.R., Lake, C., Inns, A., Baye, A., Dachet, D., Haslam, J. (2019). A Quantitative Synthesis of Research on Writing Approaches in Years 3 to 13. London: Education Endowment Foundation. The report is available from: _Evidence_Review.pdf

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