connecting research and practice: a snapshot of resources for english language learners

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Connecting Research and Practice: A Snapshot of Resources for English Language Learners March 5, 2008 3:30 – 5:00 PM National Press Club Washington, DC. Why are the SEE Forums needed?. More than ever, evidence in education is needed—and demanded - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Connecting Research and Practice: A Snapshot of Resources for English Language Learners

    March 5, 20083:30 5:00 PMNational Press ClubWashington, DC

  • Why are the SEE Forums needed?More than ever, evidence in education is neededand demandedFew mechanisms exist to link education decision-makers with sound, relevant, and actionable evidenceThe SEE Forums provide a regular opportunity to connect the DC-based policymaking community with timely, relevant, and rigorous research and resources

  • Who we are:American Institutes for Research (AIR), a nonprofit, nonpartisan social science and education research and technical assistance organization ( Supported through a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences ( of the U.S. Department of Education

  • What we do:Hold six public forums for DC-based policymakers on research and resources to promote evidence-based educationIssue ResearchLinks publications, explaining and outlining the policy relevance of the evidence presented and linking it to additional resourcesMaintain a website ( that offers access to the information presented during the forums and serves as a scientific evidence portal to support policymaker efforts to apply rigorous evidence

  • Todays Forum:Connecting Research and Practice: A Snapshot of Resources for English Language LearnersHighlight two resources that help to connect rigorous research to policy and practice: IES Practice Guide seriesDoing What Works websitePresentations by leading researchers and experts, observations from experienced practitioners, and a discussion on how to use the evidence provided

  • Agenda:Welcome and IntroductionsSteve FleischmanIES Practice Guide SeriesRebecca Herman & Russell GerstenDoing What Works WebsiteNikola FilbyResponses from the FieldDelia Pompa & Maria SantosQuestions, Answers and Discussion

  • For more information:Website Questions and comments

  • IES Practice Guides

    Rebecca HermanManaging Research AnalystAmerican Institutes for Research

  • What are practice guides?Designed to provide evidence-based advice to practitionersOriginated in health careHybrid of expert consensus panels and critical reviews of the research

  • How can practice guides help?Fill a niche where there is a great need for guidance but limited strong impact evidenceWritten to be of immediate use to practitioners

  • What is the rigor of IES Practice Guides?ProcessSystematic review of evidenceExpert judgmentRigorous review of guideResearchPrioritize strongest evidenceInclude a wide range of evidenceSummarizing the evidenceBased on strength of the evidence and generalizability of the findingsRecommendation can be supported by expert judgment and theory

  • IES Levels of Evidence for Practice Guides



    (1) studies whose designs can support causal conclusions (internal validity) and

    (2) studies that in total include enough of the range of participants and settings on which the recommendation is focused to support the conclusion that the results can be generalized to those participants and settings (external validity).



    (1) studies that support strong causal conclusions but where generalization is uncertain or

    (2) studies that support the generality of a relationship but where the causality is uncertain.


    Based on expert opinion derived from strong findings or theories in related areas and/or expert opinion buttressed by direct evidence that does not rise to the moderate or strong level. Low evidence is operationalized as evidence not meeting the standards for the moderate or high level.

  • What topics are covered by practice guides?Research-based practices to help K-5 English language learners improve their reading skillsResearch-based practices for encouraging girls in math and scienceOrganizing instruction and study to improve student learningResearch-based practices for turning around low performing schoolsResearch-based practices to help improve adolescent reading skillsResponse to intervention: ReadingResponse to intervention: MathBehavior problems in regular classroomsTeacher recruitment and retentionPostsecondary access for at-risk students

  • What is a Practice Guide? Case of the English Learners Practice Guide

    Russell Gersten, PhDResearch Director, RG Research GroupProfessor Emeritus, University of Oregon

  • Session Objectives Orient group to the Practice GuideProvide a crisp overview of the state of scientific research and how it can and should influence policy and practiceProvide specific suggestions for implementation of structured English immersionDiscuss school level implementation

  • Search for CoherencePanel struggles to develop 5 to 10 assertions that are:Forceful and usefulAnd COHERENTDo not encompass all things for all peopleDo not read like a book chapter or article

    Jump start the process by using individualswith topical expertise & complementary views

  • Panelists Russell Gersten (Chair)Robin ScarcellaTimothy ShanahanPenny Collins (formerly Chiappe)Scott K. BakerSylvia Linan Thompson

  • The TopicsEarly screening and identificationEarly Intervention Vocabulary Academic English Peer assisted learning

  • Recommendation 1: Early Screening for RD using English Language Measures

    Level of Evidence: Strong Twenty-two studies have demonstrated that three types of measures are valid means of determining which English learners are likely to benefit from typical classroom reading instruction and which children will require extra support:Measures of phonological awareness Measures of familiarity with the alphabet, and the alphabetic principle in English

  • Recommendation 1: ContinuedFights conventional wisdom of wait until child is proficient in English No need to wait until students have good oral proficiency in English before teaching readingNo need to wait until students are proficient in English before screening for students who may need extra support Recent research (Lesaux, Journal of Educational Psychology, November 2007) shows still valid for fourth grade reading

  • Type of Research to Support the Assertion: Descriptive/LongitudinalDescribes students progress over K, 1st and/or 2ndIn other words, does not demonstrate causes (e.g. native language is better or worse than English reading instruction)Does show what can happen without any serious researcher involvement in instruction or curriculum Has been replicated and results are consistent

  • What Does the Research Say AboutEarly Identification? For ELLs, as for Native speakers, Phonological processing measures are excellent predictors of potential at risk status Oral language proficiency measures (English) are poor predictors of subsequent reading performance

  • What Does the Research Say About Rate of Learning to Read in English for ELLs?

    The rate of ELL student learning can be the same as their native English speaking peers.This is true for word reading, reading comprehension, phonological skill development in English Not true for discourse comprehension or memory for sentences (Woodcock measure)

  • RoadblocksSome teachers think that: Reading problems may resolve themselves once English learners develop proficiency in oral English. It is unfair to test a child in a language that she or he does not understand. Native language assessments are more valid than English language measures for this group of students. Fine to do both. It is inappropriate to teach phonological processing skills in a language that a child does not fully understand.

  • Recommendation 2: Intensive Small Group Reading Interventions Level of Evidence: StrongEvidence: Four randomized controlled trials using three curricula (What Works Clearinghouse website)The three curricula shared many common characteristicsImpacts limited to reading and basic comprehension, no English language development effects

  • SuggestionsUse an intervention program with students who enter the first grade with weak reading and prereading skills, or with older elementary students with reading problemsUse it daily for at least 30 minutes in small, homogeneous groups of 3-6 studentsProvide training and ongoing support for teachers

  • Recommendation 3: Extensive and Varied Vocabulary Instruction Level of Evidence: Strong Three intervention research studies demonstrate that intense and explicit vocabulary instruction enhances reading comprehension

  • SuggestionsAdopt a sound framework for vocabulary instruction that is evidence based.Develop district-wide lists of essential words for vocabulary instruction. Teach essential content words in depth. Vocabulary instruction for English learners should also emphasize the acquisition of meanings of everyday words and common words, phrases, and expressions that English Learners have not yet learned.

  • RoadblocksTeaching vocabulary effectively is difficult.Some teachers may incorrectly assume that English learners know a concept and the word for that concept in their primary language when, in fact, they do not.Especially true for academic terms such as dividend, ratio, abolish, compromise..

  • Recommendation 4: Develop Academic English

    Level of Evidence: Low Based on two intervention studies, on one correlational study, and on expert judgment.English learners require considerable explicit and deliberate instruction to learn academic English.

  • SuggestionsAdopt a policy clearly stating that English learners must have a daily block of time devoted to development of academic EnglishDevel


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