The Writing Assigment that Changes Lives


Researcher Jordan Peterson, in the department of psychology at the University of Toronto, has co-authored a paper "that demonstrates a startling effect: nearly erasing the gender and ethnic minority achievement gap for 700 students over the course of two years with a short written exercise in setting goals." Although this study took place with at-risk students in college, the approach may also be effective with adult basic skills learners. I wonder if you know of approaches like this in adult basic or adult secondary level education, or transition to college programs. If so, please tell us about them.

You will find more about this in an article at

David J. Rosen


David, this paper provides a whole lot of grist for this writing and literacy mill. I appreciate the support offered for two practices, among others he discusses and that I have long advocated: (1) give students time to reflect, a rare occurrence in our active, fast-paced learning environments, and (2) have students write about what they know! Adding goal setting to the equation also adds a whole lot to the outcome!

There is a whole lot to consider in Peterson's work, which bridges disciplines very nicely to the benefit of developing writers. Thank you so much for sharing the resources and starting this conversation. Great stuff!

Leecy Wise