Knowing the content and being able to express that knowledge and organise it into a lucid written form are two different things.
So, more than 30 Australian schools have turned to Write that Essay, an award-winning writing programme that has seen students outperform country averages.
Write that Essay (WTE) was first adapted in Queensland by two Brisbane schools in 2016 and has since increased the literary success of hundreds of school students across the state, gaining an average of 51 points in NAPLAN writing – double the relative gain for the average Australian student.
Queensland students’ literacy is the lowest ranked in the country and 12.6% of Queensland Year 9 students are below the national minimum standard in writing.
Former university professor and Founder of WTE, Dr Ian Hunter said, “Australian teachers demonstrate exceptional knowledge of their subjects but do not have the tools to teach students how to transform their knowledge into writing.
“Our programme is supporting the education system by empowering students and improving their writing abilities, setting them up to succeed in ATAR,” he said.
Over 65% of schools that engaged with WTE were within the top 200 most improved schools in Queensland, based on 2019 NAPLAN data.
In particular, boys using the WTE writing system have seen staggering results, outperforming the Queensland average by 66 points and the national average by 34 points.
Queensland’s St Joseph’s Nudgee College’s Principal, Peter Fullagar said that since engaging Write that Essay in 2019, the school has seen significant improvement in teacher capability and the learning outcomes of its students.
"Across the College, there has been an increase in writing output, written assessment pieces are more concise and we have been impressed with the improvement in cohesion,” said Fullagar.
"Over the course of our partnership, the College has provided professional development for academic staff specific to Write that Essay."
Earnshaw State College’s Principal, Karen McKinnon is also positive about the programme and said that Write that Essay has been of immeasurable assistance.
“The success of the programme has been borne out through significant, measurable improvements in student attainment in standardised testing, and through an observable improvement in student engagement during class writing activities today,” said McKinnon.
Hunter and his team have successfully developed WTE based on scientific testing and a deep understanding of student needs; successfully building teacher capacities and improving the education of all types of students.
WTE is used currently by 160 schools across New Zealand and Australia.
About the programme: