The Early Writing Project is a professional development system that provides teachers with tools, learning and collaborative support. The Early Writing Project supports teachers in using data to identify student’s specific skill needs, customize instruction to meet the child’s needs, and adjust instruction based on student performance.

This system is designed for special education teachers, Title 1 teachers and interventionists who work with early writers (Grades 1 to 3), who are not responding to regular instruction and need intensive writing support.

 Watch a video on Data-Based Instruction

Research to date:

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES), an evaluation arm of the U.S, Department of Education, granted the University of Minnesota in collaboration with the University of Missouri an approximately $1.5 million grant to develop and pilot The Early Writing Project, previously named Data-Based Instruction: Tools, Learning, and Collaborative Support, with teachers in classrooms. The research team collaborated with teachers in creating and testing the feasibility and promise of The Early Writing Project in schools. Findings suggest that The Early Writing Project appears feasible to implement in schools and holds promise to promote student writing outcomes.

Current research:

Due to the promising findings, IES awarded the University of Minnesota, in collaboration with University of Missouri, approximately $3.3 million to test the effectiveness of The Early Writing Project on a larger scale. Over the course of the four years, the research team will collaborate with schools, teachers, families, and students to test the effectiveness of the professional development system in supporting teachers’ use of data-based instruction and in improving the outcomes of struggling writers.

Interested in learning more?

Please contact Elizabeth Lam, Project Director, at