During the 2019–20 school year, two transitional kindergarten (TK) teachers from Ceres Unified School District in California (one from Don Pedro Elementary School and one from Walter White Elementary School) joined together to engage in an action research project that aimed to improve student writing using quality formative assessment practices. Specifically, the team wanted to answer the following question: How can we employ quality formative assessment practices that will improve student writing at the TK level?
To answer this question, the team engaged in many formative writing opportunities, such as free-flow journals, directed journals, shadow writing, and sight-word sentence writing. They also added the formative assessment practices of (1) clarifying criteria for writing, (2) co-constructing a progression of writing with in-class exemplars and clarifying stage descriptors, and (3) engaging students in self-assessment and goal setting. Their project spanned three years and was divided across two campuses.