National Research and Development Center for English Language Learners
Our focused program of research is designed to address five crucial educational challenges with EL (English) learners: (1) the inadequate research base for older readers in Grades 408, (2) effective interventions that promote vocabulary and comprehension of narrative and expository text, (3) better understanding of the features of instruction that facilitate learning for EL learners (e.g., traditional instruction vs. ESL-enhanced instruction, teacher guided instruction vs. group work, traditional text vs. modified text, (4) professional development that ensures teachers implement effective classroom practices to help EL learners achieve high standards, and (5) the importance of disseminating information on effective practices to a broad audience using a variety of methods.
We propose to develop research-based interventions, test them in tightly controlled experiments and randomized field trials with classroom teachers, combine them into a comprehensive package whose effectiveness will also be tested in randomized experiments, and then disseminate findings and state-of-the-art professional development on the specific instructional practices that are proven effective in improving English reading comprehension and student achievement in the content areas. We will focus on EL learners in the middle grades in social studies and science classrooms. The proposed intervention studies will emphasize comprehension processes, language and vocabulary development, text modifications, and grouping arrangements that enhance outcomes for middle-grade EL learners. More specifically, we will: (1) develop and test teacher-guided methods and peer collaborative group work to enhance vocabulary and comprehension, (2) compare the efficacy of teacher-guided instruction with instruction that employs both teacher-guided instruction and collaborative group work, (3) test the efficacy of social studies narrative and expository text that has been modified to make it more comprehensible, and (4) test and refine a model of professional development geared to improving content knowledge of EL learners in middle school classrooms.
California State University, Long Beach, Jana Echevarria, Co-Project Director
Center for Applied Linguistics, Diane August, Co-Project Director
Harvard University, Catherine E. Snow, Co-Project Director
University of Texas at Austin, Sharon Vaughn, Co-Project Director
University of California at Berkeley, Elfrieda Hiebert