There is no silver bullet for instructional improvement – no one answer or single solution. We understand this, having all worked in schools ourselves. Therefore we always begin our work by developing a needs assessment and specific professional development plan based on each collaborating school’s strengths and needs.

The Carnegie Content-area Literacy Survey is one of the tools we use to help school leaders craft a plan for deep professional learning. This tool helps researchers and school leaders better understand how math, science, social studies and English teachers approach the challenges of disciplinary literacy. Looking at this data is the first step in designing a professional development plan for your school (see hot it fits into our school engagement cycle here).

You can view and download a pdf of the “default” version of the survey here.

You can download a Microsoft Word version of the “default” survey and alter it as you see fit here.

We have made all the items in this survey freely available to you through Google Forms. To access and use the templates, follow the instructions below:

  1. Click on the image below to enter Google Forms.
  2. Once you have opened Google Forms in a new tab or window, click on the “Use This Template” button in the upper lefthand corner. The templates will now have been added to your own Google Drive account (you may be prompted to log in–or to create an account, if you do not have one).
  3. Preview the survey (click the “eye icon” on the upper right hand side of the screen).
  4. Add, delete, or modify as many items as you like.
  5. Press “Send” and distribute to your staff members.

Contact us if you have any questions about this process, interpreting the resulting data or in brainstorming next steps.

The items in this survey were developed by a team led by Elizabeth Moje and reformatted for use by schools by a team led by Joshua Lawrence with funding from the Strategic Educational Research Partnership, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Hellman Foundation.

This tool is freely available for non-commercial use by educators using Google Forms. You can add, alter or delete any and all items for your own personal use. Data collected with this tool will not be available to anyone except the person who administers the survey in your school or district.

Some districts have used the CALS Survey Analysis Protocol  to help them understand their results with their literacy leadership team.

Please reference these papers for more information:

  • Moje, E. B., Overby, M., Tysvaer, N., & Morris, K. (2008). The complex world of adolescent literacy: Myths, motivations, and mysteries. Harvard Educational Review, 78(1), 107–154.
  • Lawrence, J. F. (2009). Summer reading: Predicting adolescent word learning from aptitude, time spent reading, and text type. Reading Psychology, 30(5), 445–465.
  • Lawrence, J. F. (2012). English vocabulary trajectories of students whose parents speak a language other than English: Steep trajectories and sharp summer setback. Reading and Writing, 25(5), 1113–1141.