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We examined the effects of the Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) for opinion essay writing among 380 eighth grade students in six urban middle schools in a major city in Portugal. Fourteen teachers in six urban middle schools in Portugal participated in the present study; 7 of these teachers participated in practice-based professional development (PBPD) in SRSD before implementation, and follow-up support once instruction began. Schools were matched in pairs based on SES and teacher characteristics; a member of each pair was randomly assigned to either: (a) teacher led SRSD instruction for opinion essay writing; or (b) teacher implementation of the schools’ existing curriculum and language program prescriptions for opinion writing. Students in the experimental schools were taught strategies for planning and composing opinion essays once a week in 45 min sessions, over a three-month period. Multilevel modeling for repeated measures indicated SRSD instructed students made statistically greater gains in composition elements than the comparison students immediately after instruction and two months later. Teachers implemented SRSD with fidelity and teachers and students rated the intervention favorably. This study provides initial evidence for replication of the effects of PBPD and SRSD outside of the United States. Limitations, lessons learned, and directions for future research are discussed.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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