Using Sources Tool (UST)

The National Writing Project’s (NWP) College Ready Writers Program (CRWP) offers teachers a model for analyzing student work with the purpose of guiding instruction to better meet the needs of the students. The Using Sources Tool (UST) is a formative assessment tool that teachers use in the middle of a cycle of writing to provide a focused look at the quality of students’ claims and how they select and use evidence from sources. The tool combines a series of scaled questions related to use of source material and a short narrative question to name next instructional steps. The UST is digital tool that can provide whole-class or whole-school data in accessible charts and graphs. The UST is not intended to be used to evaluate individual teachers or to score student writing.


Using Sources Tool (Paper Version)

The Using Sources Tool (UST) focuses on the quality of students’ claims and how they select and use evidence from sources to support their claims. Using this tool has resulted in lively and productive conversations among teachers, supporting them in identifying next teaching steps for their students.  The UST has gone through iterative cycles of use and revision, including use in the i3 CRWP professional development and research study. 

Click here for a downloadable version of the UST. 

Using Sources Tool (Scale Points)



Introducing the UST in Professional Development

The UST is designed to be a tool for collaboratively looking at student writing in CRWP professional development. Modeling the process for looking at student writing beyond a score supports teachers in understanding the UST as formative assessment. Below is a process that can be used in introducing teachers to the UST and preparing them for looking at their own student writing.This process helps in creating a common lens for using the UST to look at student writing.

Here is a video tutorial that explains the logistics of using the UST in CRWP Advanced Institutes:

Click here for a downloadable version of the slideshow.


Using Sources Tool (Student Versions)

Many teachers have found it useful to have students use student versions of the Using Sources Tool for peer response and self-reflection in order to plan for next steps for themselves as writers or to revise a piece of writing to more effectively use sources.


Student Work

Student work that is annotated and scored with the Using Sources Tool can be found on the mini-unit pages for Writing into the Day, Connecting Evidence to Claims, Ranking Evidence, and Coming to Terms with Opposing Viewpoints