An Analysis of First-Grade Writing Profiles and Their Relationship to Compositional Quality


To help all students meet the writing expectations of the Common Core State Standards, researchers need a deeper understanding of the characteristics of struggling writers. The purpose of this study was to explore the writing profiles of students including those who have or are at risk for writing disabilities. First-grade students (N = 391) were assessed at the end of the school year using three writing assessments (spelling, sentence writing fluency, writing achievement). The researchers used latent profile analysis to identify students as fitting into one of five profiles (At Risk, Low Fluency, Low Writing, Average, and Above Average). Students also wrote narrative and descriptive texts that were scored multiple ways. The researchers used confirmatory factor analysis to identify four common factors: quality/length, spelling, mechanics, and syntax. Students in the At Risk profile wrote narratives and descriptions that scored lower on all aspects of writing when compared to students in the Average and Above Average profiles. These findings provide further evidence of the distinct difference among writers as early as first grade, and they offer insight into the characteristics of at-risk writers. The implications of these findings for instruction and assessment and directions for future research are described.


Counseling, Leadership, and Special Education

Document Type





elementary age, assessment, written language

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Learning Disabilities