Our Greatest Writing Results Ever

Northcross Intermediate


Three years ago, Northcross Intermediate embarked on the goal of turning around their student writing results. With over 1000 students, poor writing results were a concern to both teachers and senior management. 

“As a school, we work very hard on writing. We want to give our students a chance to head off to secondary school—and into the community—with the ability to communicate well through writing and speaking. But I think as a school and as a country we have struggled with our students in writing.”

“We use the effect size at Northcross Intermediate, which is based around the research of John Hattie and visible learning. This says that we can put an effect size formula on our tests; Hattie says 0.40 is a good year’s growth. We have been getting those results with our maths and our reading, but we weren’t seeing those results in the writing. I don’t think we were performing that well in writing to tell you the truth. And as a leader of the school, that was concerning: we wanted to see results. “

In 2016, Tredray had his literacy leaders investigate writing solutions: they came back with Write that Essay. Within the first 10 months of implementing

the Write that Essay Programme, Northcross students’ effect size had increased from 0.4 to 0.8. And by the end of 2018, some students had more than tripled their expected effect size. 

“We believe that Write that Essay and the structure within WTE, has made a huge difference in upskilling our teachers, their knowledge and that knowledge transferring back into the students. The big thing is our school results. In one year, we have seen some quite remarkable increase in results. In many cases, we actually had a 0.8 effect size. This was a phenomenal turn around. We saw great results with our Maori students. And I think that’s because they were understanding the structure and what a good sentence looked like.”

 "I would say to any school, if you’re not getting the results—if you’re not getting those spikes in achievement—I would definitely give WTE a go.  I’d definitely acknowledge the difference WTE has made to Northcross Intermediate. It is a different way of teaching writing; it is a structured way."

Jonathon Tredray, Principal, Northcross Intermediate