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Practical Guidelines for the Education of English Language Learners. David J. Francis, Ph.D. Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics Center on Instruction – ELL Strand University of Houston Presented at LEP Partnership Meeting Washington, DC October 28, 2006.

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practical guidelines for the education of english language learners

Practical Guidelines for the Education of English Language Learners

David J. Francis, Ph.D.

Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics

Center on Instruction – ELL Strand

University of Houston

Presented at LEP Partnership Meeting

Washington, DC

October 28, 2006

slide2

The Center on Instruction is operated by RMC Research Corporation in partnership with the Florida Center for Reading Research at Florida StateUniversity; RG Research Group; the Texas Institute for Measurement,Evaluation, and Statistics at the University of Houston; and the VaughnGross Center for Reading and Language Arts at the University of Texas at Austin.The contents of this PowerPoint were developed under cooperative agreement S283B050034 withthe U.S. Department of Education. However, these contents do not necessarilyrepresent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should notassume endorsement by the Federal Government.2006 The Center on Instruction requests that no changes be made to the content or appearance of this product.To download a copy of this document, visit www.centeroninstruction.org

practical guidelines for the education of ells
Practical Guidelines for the Education of ELLs

Collaborators:

  • Nonie Lesaux, GSE, Harvard University
  • Mabel Rivera, COI, TIMES, University of Houston
  • Michael Kieffer, GSE, Harvard University
  • Hector Rivera, COI, TIMES, University of Houston
practical guidelines for the education of ells4
Practical Guidelines for the Education of ELLs
  • Three books:
    • Research-based Recommendations for Instruction and Academic Interventions
    • Research-based Recommendations for Serving Adolescent Newcomers
    • Research-based Recommendations for the Use of Accommodations in Large-scale Assessments
guide to working with the documents
Guide to working with the Documents
  • Single document with separate sections vs. separate documents
    • Intent was for documents that would work together, but which could also stand on their own
    • Redundancy of some background material
  • Conventions
    • Footnotes – for information the reader might need immediately while reading
    • Endnotes – for references and more detailed explication of the literature behind a point
key reference materials
Key Reference Materials

Instruction and Intervention

  • August & Shanahan (2006)
  • Genessee, Lindholm-Leary, Saunders, & Christian (2006)

Newcomers

  • August & Shanahan (2006); Genessee et al. (2006)
  • Short & Boyson (2004)

Accommodations

  • Abedi, Hofstetter, & Lord (2004).
  • Sireci, Li, & Carpati (2003)
  • Rivera, Collum, & Shafner Willner (2006)
ells and nclb
ELLs and NCLB
  • Membership is defined by limited proficiency in an area that directly affects learning and assessment
  • Group membership is expected to be temporary
  • ELLs face unique set of learning challenges:
    • to develop the content-related knowledge and skills that define state standards
    • while simultaneously acquiringa secondlanguage, and
    • particularly in the case of young children, at a time when their first language is not fully developed, and
    • (possibly) to demonstrate their learning on an assessment in the second language
ells and nclb8
ELLs and NCLB
  • ELLs present a unique set of challenges to
    • Teachers
    • Administrators
    • Assessment Systems
    • Accountability Systems
academic language is the key organizing principle
Academic Language is the Key Organizing Principle
  • See Scarcella (2003) for detailed introduction to Academic Language
  • Development of academic language
    • is fundamental to academic success in all domains
    • is the primary source of ELLs difficulties with academic content at all ages and grades
    • can remain a challenge even after students achieve proficiency on current state language proficiency tests
    • affects ELLs performance on large-scale assessments
academic language
Academic Language
  • Impossible to overstate the role that academic language plays in determining students’ success
  • Good conversational English skills may be accompanied by limited academic language skills
    • For example, in studies of elementary and middle school students, including those no longer designated as LEP, mean vocabulary scores below the 20th percentile are not uncommon.
academic language11
Academic Language
  • Academic Language is comprised of many skills
    • Vocabulary knowledge (both depth and breadth)
      • Depth – knowing multiple meanings, both common and uncommon, for a given word
      • Breadth – knowing the meanings of many words, including multiple words for the same, or related, concepts
    • Written vocabulary as distinct from oral vocabulary
    • Understanding of complex sentence structures and syntax
    • Understanding the structure of argument, academic discourse, and expository texts
general organization
General Organization
  • Foreword
  • Overview
    • Description of the Population
    • Organization and General Methods
  • Recommendations for …(multiple sections)
    • Conceptual Framework
    • Specific Recommendations
who are english language learners
Who Are English Language Learners?
  • Comprise one of the fastest-growing groups among the school-aged population in this nation
    • Over 9M students, roughly 5.5M classified as LEP
    • ELL school-aged population has grown by more than 169% from 1979 to 2003 (vs. 12% growth in general)
    • Expected to be 30% of school-aged population in 2015
    • Over 400 different home languages are represented
    • Spanish is the predominant home language (70%)
who are english language learners14
Who Are English Language Learners?
  • Largest and fastest growing ELL populations are
    • Students who immigrated before Kindergarten, and
    • U.S. born children of immigrants
  • Compared to native English-speaking peers:
    • On Grade 4 NAEP, ELLs were 1/4th as likely to score proficient or above in Reading and 1/3rd as likely in Math
    • ELLs are less likely to score proficient on State tests
  • These results may be biased in so far as they reflect performance of students who retain the designation of LEP
who are english language learners15
Who Are English Language Learners?
  • Some states have begun to look at the performance of ELLs on State tests after they have gained proficiency in English
  • These reports show that some ELL students do well in school
  • Nevertheless, many students who have lost the formal LEP designation continue to struggle with academic text, content, and language
  • The documents were written with this latter group of current and former LEP students in mind
book 1 instruction and intervention
Book 1: Instruction and Intervention
  • Foreword
  • Overview
  • Reading
    • Conceptual Framework
    • Recommendations
  • Mathematics
    • Conceptual Framework
    • Recommendations
guiding principles for planning instruction and intervention
Guiding Principles for Planning Instruction and Intervention
  • Reading is fundamental to the development of content-area knowledge and academic success
  • Applies to all learners
  • We distinguish three functions for instruction: augmentation, prevention, remediation
  • To be effective, educators must have a clear understanding of the specific sources of difficulty or weakness for individual students and groups of students
guiding principles for planning instruction and intervention18
Guiding Principles for Planning Instruction and Intervention
  • ELLs often lack the academic language necessary for comprehending and analyzing text
  • The great majority of ELLs experiencing reading difficulties struggle with the skills related to
    • Fluency
    • Vocabulary
    • Comprehension
  • These areas are mutually interdependent
recommendations on reading instruction and intervention
Recommendations on Reading Instruction and Intervention
  • ELLs need early, explicit, and intensive instruction in phonological awareness and phonics in order to build decoding skills
    • These skills are highly correlated across alphabetic languages (i.e., correlations above .9)
  • K-12 classrooms across the nation must increase opportunities for ELLs to develop sophisticated vocabulary knowledge
recommendations on reading instruction and intervention20
Recommendations on Reading Instruction and Intervention
  • Reading instruction in K-12 classrooms must equip ELLs with strategiesand knowledge to comprehend and analyze challenging narrative and expository texts
  • Instruction and intervention to promote ELLs’ reading fluency must focus on vocabulary development and increased exposure to print
recommendations on reading instruction and intervention21
Recommendations on Reading Instruction and Intervention
  • In all K-12 classrooms across the U.S., ELLs need significant opportunities to engage in structured, academic talk
  • Independent reading is beneficial, BUT
    • it must be structured and purposeful, and
    • there must be a good reader-text match
recommendations on mathematics instruction and intervention
Recommendations on Mathematics Instruction and Intervention
  • Generally much less research to guide recommendations
  • Academic language is as central to mathematics as it is to other academic areas
    • a significant source of difficulty for many ELLs who struggle with mathematics
  • ELLs need early, explicit, and intensive instruction and intervention in basic mathematics concepts and skill
  • ELLs need academic language support to understand and solve the word problems that are often used for mathematics assessment and instruction
book 2 adolescent newcomers
Book 2: Adolescent Newcomers
  • Foreword
  • Overview
  • Elements of Effective Instruction
  • Organizational Elements of Effective Programs
elements of effective instruction for adolescent newcomers
Elements of Effective Instruction for Adolescent Newcomers
  • Short & Boyson (2004)
  • August & Shanahan (2006)
  • All middle and secondary school classrooms must address the language and literacy skills adolescent newcomers need for content area learning
  • All adolescent newcomers need instruction in academic language, which they need for text comprehension and school success
elements of effective instruction for adolescent newcomers25
Elements of Effective Instruction for Adolescent Newcomers
  • Adolescent newcomers need direct, explicit instruction to support their comprehension of challenging texts
  • Adolescent newcomers must receive intensive instruction in writing for academic purposes
  • Effective classroom instruction begins with systematic assessment of students’ strengths and needs, as well as ongoing monitoring of students’ progress
  • Students with word-reading difficulties need targeted and explicit intervention
organizational elements of effective newcomer programs
Organizational Elements of Effective Newcomer Programs
  • Empirical research is limited
  • Systematic support for assessment and placement of students
  • Heterogeneous grouping
  • Extended instructional time
  • Coordinated efforts: newcomer programs, programs for advanced ELLs, and mainstream classes
  • Targeted resources for language and literacy instruction
book 3 accommodations
Book 3: Accommodations
  • Foreword
  • Overview
  • Review of State Policies
  • Meta-analysis
  • Technical Appendices
use of accommodations in large scale assessments
Use of Accommodations in Large-scale Assessments
  • Rivera, Collum, & Shafer Willner (2006)
  • Abedi, Hofstetter, & Lord (2004).
  • Sireci, Li, & Carpati (2003)
content knowledge and language proficiency
Content Knowledge and Language Proficiency
  • Assessments of content knowledge are influenced by students’ language proficiency
    • Assessments with the most linguistically challenging content show the largest performance gaps between ELLs and native English speakers
  • It is easier to separate language proficiency from content knowledge in some domains (e.g., mathematics) than in others (e.g., reading language arts)
  • Appropriate accommodations for ELLs will address their linguistic needs either directly or indirectly
state policies
State Policies
  • Educational agencies across the nation provide accommodations to ELLs as needed
  • The criteria for selection and strategies for implementation vary by state, according to many factors
  • Rivera, Collum, & Shafer Willner (2006) have developed a comprehensive taxonomy for thinking about accommodations
partial listing of accommodations responsive to needs of ells
Accommodations of Testing Conditions

Extended time*

Breaks offered between sessions

Bilingual glossaries*

Bilingual dictionaries*

English glossaries*

English dictionaries*

Accommodations as Test Modifications

Directions read in English

Directions read in native language

Directions translated into native language

Simplified English*

Side-by-side bilingual version of the test*

Native language test*

Dictation of answers or use of a scribe

Test taker responds in native language

Partial Listing of Accommodations Responsive to Needs of ELLs
criteria for evaluation of accommodations
Criteria for Evaluation of Accommodations
  • Effectiveness
    • Do ELL students who receive the accommodation outperform ELL students who do not receive the accommodation?
  • Validity
    • Does the accommodation alter the construct validity of the test? Do non-ELL students who receive the accommodation outperform non-ELL students who do not receive the accommodation?
  • Practicality
effective accommodations for ells results of a meta analysis
Effective Accommodations for ELLs: Results of a Meta-Analysis
  • 11 studies
    • Each study used random assignment of ELLs and non-ELLs to testing conditions with and without accommodations
    • Involved 37 different samples of students
    • Reported 37 different tests of the effectiveness of accommodations for ELLs
study descriptions
Study Descriptions
  • Grades included
    • 4th: n=11
    • 8th: n=22
    • 5th or 6th: n=2 each
  • Subject Areas
    • Math: n = 17
    • Science: n=19
    • Reading: n=1
  • Type of test
    • NAEP items: n=22
    • NAEP and TIMSS: n=6
    • State Accountability Assessment: n=9 (two different states)
study descriptions cont
Study Descriptions (cont.)
  • Types of accommodations
    • Simplified English (n=15)
    • English dictionary/glossary (n=11)
    • Bilingual dictionary/glossary (n=5)
    • Extra time (n=2)
    • Spanish language test (n=2)
    • Dual language questions (n=1)
    • Dual language booklet (n=1)
summary of results
Summary of Results
  • Of the seven types of accommodations used, only one had an overall positive effect on ELL outcomes: English language dictionaries and glossaries
    • Produced an average effect, which is positive and statistically different from zero
    • No indication that this effect varied across the studied conditions
summary of results39
Summary of Results
  • Findings for native language tests and bilingual glossaries are mixed
  • Results varied across studies as evidenced by homogeneity test
  • Too few studies to say conclusive what the important factors are, but some reasonable candidates are:
    • Matching language of assessment with language of instruction
    • Ensuring that students are literate in L1
summary of results40
Summary of Results
  • Results for Simplified English were less promising than expected
  • Test of heterogeneity was not rejected, indicating that the small average effect is a reasonable characterization of the results of the current studies
conclusions
Conclusions
  • For any accommodation to be successful in the testing situation, students must have experience with it during regular instruction
  • The alignment of curriculum, instruction, and assessment is crucial to the academic success of all students
  • Accommodations alone will not be effective in raising test scores of ELLs
conclusions42
Conclusions
  • Lack of effects in these studies for Simplified English is not an indictment of universal design
  • Research base is limited in important ways:
    • Few studies involving State accountability tests
    • Few studies in reading and language arts
    • No accommodation has been studied definitively