You do not have JavaScript Enabled on this browser. Please enable it in order to use the full functionality of our website.

EBP Compendium: Summary of Systematic Review

Grant from the National Council of Learning Disabilities
Teaching Expressive Writing to Students with Learning Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis

Gersten, R., & Baker, S. (2001).
The Elementary School Journal, 101(3), 251-272.

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review addresses a clearly focused question Yes
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication No
Included studies are assessed for study quality No
Quality assessments are reproducible No

Description: This is a meta-analysis of experimental and quasi- experimental studies investigating the effect of writing interventions for students with learning disabilities.

Question(s) Addressed:

Which interventions and intervention components are most effective in improving the writing of students with learning disabilities, and what is the strength of those effects?

Population: Students with identified learning disabilities

Intervention/Assessment: Expressive writing instruction targeting the writing process (i.e., composing, editing, revising) rather than writing mechanics. Interventions had to last at least 45 minutes and occurred across at least three days of instruction. 

Number of Studies Included: 13

Years Included: 1963 - 1999



  • Treatment
    • Language
      • Written Expression
        • Positive effects were reported for all interventions targeting written expression.
        • Moderate to large effects were consistent across studies.
        • Overall, findings suggest that writing interventions incorporate three components. Interventions should include explicit teaching of:
          • the critical steps in the writing process;
          • the conventions of a writing genre;
          • guided feedback.

Keywords: Language Disorders, Learning Disabilities, Written Language Disorders, Literacy

Access the Review

Added to Compendium: March 2012

ASHA Corporate Partners