To add to the evidence base on effective strategies for teaching English language learner students, the 2006–2011 REL West at WestEd conducted a rigorous study, using an intent-to-treat model, of the impact on middle grades student achievement of offering teachers the opportunity to participate in a teacher professional development program.
The program, Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL), is an approach to improving the teaching of English language learner students. The program aims to enhance the ability of teachers to work with English language learner students and increase the quality of instruction for all other students in the mainstream classroom. QTEL consists of three components: a seven-day summer professional development program, an intensive coaching program during the school year, and collaborative lesson planning meetings. This study, Evaluation of Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL) Professional Development, examined the effects of offering QTEL professional development to teachers (rather than the effects of teachers participating in QTEL) on student outcomes in English language arts and English language development, as measured by the California Standards Test and the California English Language Development Test. No significant effects were found on student achievement. For teachers, no significant effects were found on attitudes, knowledge, or practice, as measured by the teacher survey, teacher knowledge assessment, and a classroom observation protocol, respectively. Most teachers who received an invitation to participate did not receive the services offered.
The study sample included middle schools in urban and suburban areas of three Southern California counties. The study was conducted from 2007–2010.
The RCT summary for this project is available at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/projects/rct_88.asp.