Building Consensus on Effective Instructional Strategies for English Language Learners with Disabilities July, 2007 Martha Thurlow and Kristi Liu N C E O National Center on Educational Outcomes
NCLB State Assessments State assessments must provide for the participation of all students, including students with disabilities or limited English proficiency
What Do We Know About ELLs with Disabilities? • Population 357,325 in 2002-2003 (9% of ELLs) • Numbers increasing with rapidly growing population • More ELLs instructed in mainstream courses taught in English -- tendency increased for students with disabilities
Simply putting ELLs with disabilities in the mainstream classroom with standards-based content does not guarantee they learn the material!
NCLBInstructional Strategies Teachers must use “scientifically based instructional strategies” to teach challenging academic content to all students.
LEP/IEP Strategies Project PROJECT PURPOSE To provide research-based knowledge to educators on the topic of instructional strategies that help middle school ELLs with disabilities achieve in standards-based content classrooms
State Policy Standards-Based Assessment Increased Outcomes for ELLs with disabilities Standards-Based Content Instructional Strategies CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK Adapted from Iowa Area Education Agency 267, 2004
Study Phases • Phase I: Review of instructional strategies described in state standards and supporting documents • Phase II: (1) Educator consensus-building to develop lists of recommended strategies; (2) Validation of recommended strategies via Delphi review; (3) interviews & online surveys with principals • Phase III: Dissemination
Phase I: 50 State Standards Review RESEARCH QUESTIONS • Do states recommend instructional strategies in reading, mathematics, or science for ELLs with disabilities? • What is the nature of the instructional strategies being recommended in general, and for ELLs with disabilities? • How are the strategies communicated to educators?
Definition of Strategy A set of systematic activities used by a teacher that contains explicit steps to achieve a specific student outcome. This set of steps must be replicable by another individual in order to be considered a strategy.
For further clarification In this study a strategy is not: • A student generated strategy that requires no instruction • A student learning strategy acquired through instruction • An approach (i.e., a combination of teaching/learning strategies) • An assessment activity used to determine placement in or progress through curriculum (e.g., curriculum based measurement) • A principle of good teaching (e.g., planning activities before instruction, during instruction, after instruction) • Spur of the moment; spontaneous activities suggested by a "teachable moment"(Barrera & Liu, 2005)
Process • Collected standards and supplementary instructional documents on Internet (e.g., frameworks, teaching resources) • Verified accuracy and completeness with state directors • Coded documents & analyzed results
Phase I Findings 69 total strategies; 48 directly connected to a standard • 1 strategy for ELLs with disabilities (neurological impress method) • 11 strategies for ELLs • 36 strategies for students with disabilities • 21 strategies for general education students
Findings cont. • Limited research base on ELLs with disabilities reflected in lack of references in state documents • Existing studies and articles on topic not cited • Most strategies cited related to reading strategies for students with disabilities • Some strategy descriptions varied across states (e.g., KWL)
Phase 2– Teacher Consensus Building Research Question • In schools throughout the U.S. that are making greater than average progress with English language learners, what instructional strategies do teachers recommend for improving the academic achievement of middle and junior high school English language learners with disabilities in standards-based content instruction?
WEST MIDWEST NORTHEAST NH WA MT ND VT MN ME SD 2 schools 1 school OR WI ID WY MI NY 4 schools IA MA NE PA IL OH IN RI NV UT CO MO WV CT KS KY VA NJ CA DE OK TN NC AZ AR 3 schools SC MD NM LA MS AL TX GA AK FL HI SOUTH 10 Schools Making AYP
Reading Strategies • Chunking and questioning aloud (11) • Relating reading to student experiences (11) • Using visuals (5) • Teacher modeling (3) • Checking background knowledge (2) • Choral reading (2) • Literature circles (2) • Multiple reading (2) • Predictions (2) • Pre-reading survey of text (2) • Vocabulary building (2)
Curriculum-based Probe • Proponent “I think it’s very important that you need to know where the child is at in order to keep going. You cannot keep going unless you know where the child is. So you have to constantly assess, even if it’s informal, it works.” • Opponent “I remember doing these as a child, kind of being tested like this in such a quick time frame. And then you know, it even says ‘reach frustration level.’ And I, I just… It frustrates me and it hurts me, and it makes me sad to just think that you have to test them to the point of frustration that such a time limit. Imagine being ELL and Special Ed at the same time trying to do this.”
Math Strategies • Daily re-looping of previously learned material (11) • A student-developed glossary (11) • Teacher think-alouds (11) • Using manipulatives (8) • Relating mathematics to real life (7) • Using visuals (4) • Drill and practice (2) • Hands-on participation (2) • Teacher modeling (2) • Simplifying problems (2)
Science Strategies • Modeling/teacher demonstration (11) • Using pre-reading strategies in science (11) • Using pictures to demonstrate steps (11) • Hands-on participation (6) • Graphic organizers (4) • Student-made models (4) • Vocabulary development (3) • Personal interest research (2)
Phase II findings • No common understanding of what a strategy is. • In general teachers were neutral or positive about all strategies. • Use of the native language was not mentioned frequently
The top three strategies varied little across types of teachers. • Curriculum-based probes or Curriculum based measurement was the most variable
Phase III: Principal Interviews Research Question How and to what degree are state standards that specify instructional strategies translated into practice by educational leaders at the school level?
Procedure • Semi-structured interviews with 10 principals • 5 in high ELL states • 5 in low ELL states • stratified random sample • Schools that made AYP in 2003-2004 with ELLs • Four geographic areas • Same schools where teacher groups took place
Interview Questions Questions covered the following issues for ELLs with disabilities: • Instructional issues • Teacher use of strategies contained in state standards & other documents • Sources of teacher information on instructional strategies • School or district-provided information on strategies • School needs related to instructional strategies
Many principals believe state standards and supporting documents provide no information on instructional strategies for this population “State documents and strategies are not connected”
What do principals and teachers rely on for instructional strategy information?
Teaching models with packaged materials “Our school has just adopted the SIOP Model for teaching ESL kids….It has all the strategies for reading and writing and they are research based. Our ESL teachers use them for lesson planning and designing many other class activities…We have the SIOP Model book…”
“…We take an interest in differentiated instruction and that really takes on the aspect of all students and different types of learning…one of the strategies is to make a menu-type of assignment where they will have like an appetizer, and they will have a main course and a dessert and under each of those categories there are different assignments…The ESL students have been doing things like bringing in food and clothing… and that could be a part of their assignment”
Locally developed curriculum maps “We look at the state standards and those are our…we have curriculum maps that are taught around those…The curriculum maps were then developed based upon the state standards, so the teachers…it’s been dictated, it’s not a choice, you have to follow these curriculum maps. And the curriculum maps have a pacing scale to them…The teachers are… refer to the curriculum maps, not to state standards.”
ESL or Bilingual Specialists P1: “ We rely heavily on [name], District Specialist, and she has provided various trainings…She is very thorough, professional, and efficient” P2: “Our ELL teacher as well as our reading teacher, they spent a lot of time training the staff”
Locally Provided Professional Development P1: “We had a five year grant in the district for professional development for regular teachers. During that…grant, we did the training with staff across the district” P2: “Teachers are always getting trained, we have professional development programs, money, and incentives, ESL Summer Institute…for the teachers who could not attend it we have a back up program, we have good college connections and good relationships with curriculum people in the district”
District Resources “Our district provides specific strategies for ELL and special ed students and our teaching staff follow them and adapt them”
Mixture “We do a lot of strategies. That is just a given with our school. We go through many different areas that have been highlighted, especially in the area of sheltered instruction for our students, scaffolding, we do a lot with techniques that the state sees very important for us to work with…I’ll say that our school here pretty much across the board implements many different strategies to help ELL students out…anywhere from brain-based learning to Renaissance to reading strategies” “
Phase III Findings • Most principals in our study were relatively uninvolved in directly translating instructional strategies to practice. • Much of the strategy guidance came from packaged curricula or professional development programs, from district specialists, or from building specialists.
Preliminary Project Findings • State documents do not provide a great deal of guidance • Teachers generated a list of untargeted strategies • Principals often delegate instructional decisions for these students
Teachers may not have strong building-level leadership on teaching ELLs with disabilities • Few information sources teachers rely on address the specific needs of ELLs with disabilities • It’s unclear how many of sources of information are research based.
NCEO Resources www.nceo.info Kristi Liu, (612.626.9061) email@example.com Martha Thurlow, (612.624.4826) firstname.lastname@example.org