Author Biographies

Samantha J. Manzo (M.A.) is a recent graduate from Eastern Michigan’s TESOL master’s program. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University with a major in English and minor in TESOL. She has taught English Language Arts, ESL, Composition, and Publications at the high school level in Michigan and is currently teaching AVID and English Language Arts at a high school in Jacksonville, Florida.

Kelsey DeCamillis is a research assistant and C3WP instructional coach at Eastern Michigan University under the WritEL Grant. Her background is in TESOL (MA) as well as secondary English education.

Sarah Lorenz is an educational researcher, former teacher, principal, and instructional coach. She is the Project Director for the WritEL grant at Eastern Michigan University and a Co-Director of the Eastern Michigan Writing Project in Ypsilanti, Michigan.


Without doubt, explicit instruction is essential as English learners develop important academic skills such as argument writing. Less clear is the extent to which students need to receive such explicit instruction and engage in practice in order to benefit from it. The National Writing Project’s College, Career, and Community Writing Program (C3WP) provides teachers with resources and assessments for the explicit instruction of argument writing. Prior research on C3WP has indicated that in order to see student growth, teachers must implement at least four short cycles in an academic year. The four cycles can seem ambitious and difficult for teachers to integrate into what they often view to be an already overwhelming curriculum. This small-scale quantitative study, focused on English learners, examines this issue by exploring whether students can experience growth in argument writing in just two cycles of instruction, as opposed to the recommended four cycles. The results of this study suggest that two cycles of instruction are not sufficient in helping English learners improve argument writing skills and that teachers need to commit to at least four cycles to see growth.

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