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IES Grant

Title: Center for Research on the Educational Achievement and Teaching of English Language Learners (CREATE)
Center: NCER Year: 2005
Principal Investigator: Francis, David Awardee: University of Houston
Program: Education Research and Development Centers      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 years Award Amount: $9,897,290
Type: Multiple Goals Award Number: R305A050056

Topic: English Language Learners

Purpose: In 2003–2004, English language learner services were provided to 3.8 million students in the U.S., or 11 percent of all students. Most English language learners confront an educational landscape where they must study and be tested on grade-level curricula in a new language at the same time they are learning that language.

CREATE's focused program of research is designed to address the critical challenge of improving educational outcomes of English language learners (ELLs) by

  • enhancing the empirical research base for readers in Grades 4–8,
  • using both narrative and expository text to develop and test effective interventions that promote content knowledge and language and literacy development,
  • investigating the features of instruction and text modifications that facilitate learning for ELLs (e.g., traditional instruction v. ELL-enhanced instruction, teacher-guided instruction v. group work, traditional text v. modified text), and
  • designing, testing, and delivering professional development that ensures that teachers implement effective classroom practices to help ELLs achieve high standards.


Project QuEST, Quality English and Science Teaching
Principal Investigator: Diane August, Center for Applied Linguistics
Project QuEST (Quality English and Science Teaching) investigates a systematic intervention model to concurrently develop science content and language and literacy skills in middle school English language learners. The overarching goal of this project is to improve the language and literacy instruction of English-language learners and their English-proficient peers and concurrently build their knowledge of key science concepts at the sixth grade level.

Adaptations of Peer-Assisted Learning for English Language Learners: Application to Middle-School Social Studies Classes
Principal Investigator: Sharon Vaughn, University of Texas at Austin
This project addresses the critical need to provide effective instruction for ELL students in social studies classes in seventh grade. Specifically, the study is designed to examine the efficacy of social studies instruction that is enhanced with specific instructional and learning strategies, supplemental materials (for example, video), and purposeful pairing of students. The goal is to enhance knowledge acquisition and vocabulary/concept learning through systematic practices associated with improved outcomes for ELL students in middle school content classes.

Adapting Texts to English Language Learners' Needs
Principal Investigator Catherine Snow, Harvard University
This project is developing alternative, simpler forms of texts to make them more accessible to ELL students. The ELL-accessible paragraphs will provide a basis for a modified, ELL-focused version of Word Generation, an interdisciplinary middle school academic language support program.

Word Generation is a vocabulary support program designed to be used in middle schools across all content areas: it uses engaging paragraphs to present all-purpose academic words as well as activities to help students learn them. It is being developed with support from the Strategic Education Research Partnership and formatively evaluated in Boston Public Middle Schools.

The Impact of the SIOP Model on Middle School Science and Language Learning
Principal Investigators Deborah Short and Jennifer Himmel, Center for Applied Linguistics
Jana Echevarria, and Catherine Richards, California State University, Long Beach
One promising approach to improve the academic performance of ELL students is the SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) Model, an empirically-tested, research-based model of sheltered instruction developed by researchers at the Center for Applied Linguistics and California State University, Long Beach. It incorporates best practices for teaching academic English and provides teachers with a coherent approach for improving the achievement of their students.

The Impact of the SIOP Model on Middle School Science and Language Learning is a five-year study (2005–2010) evaluating the effectiveness of the SIOP Model. This study is investigating the impact of the SIOP Model on student academic achievement in science, a subject area with high language demands. The researchers will scale-up the research to multiple sites across the U.S. in a series of controlled, randomized studies.

Key Personnel: Diane August, Coleen Carlson, Jana Echevarria, David Francis, Elfrieda Hiebert, Sylvia Linan-Thompson, Catherine Richards, Deborah Short, Catherine Snow, Sharon Vaughn.

Center Website:

IES Program Contact: Dr. Elizabeth Albro
Telephone: (202) 219-2148

Products and Publications


Graves, M.F., August, D., and Mancilla-Martinez, J. (2012). Teaching Vocabulary to English Language Learners.New York: Teachers College Press.

Book chapter

De La Varre, C., Keane, J., Irvin, M.J., and Hannum, W.H. (2009). Social Support for Online Learning in Rural High Schools. In B. Whitworth, and A. De Moor (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Socio-Technical Design and Social Networking Systems (pp. 575–588). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.

Echevarria, J., and Short, D. (2010). Programs and Practices for Effective Sheltered Content Instruction. California Department of Education (Ed.), Improving Education for English Learners: Research-Based Approaches (pp. 250–321). Sacramento, CA: CDE Press.

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

August, D., Branum-Martin, L., Cardenas-Hagan, E., and Francis, D.J. (2009). The Impact of an Instructional Intervention on the Science and Language Learning of Middle Grade English Language Learners. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 2(4): 345–376.

Echevarria, J., Richards-Tutor, C., Chinn, V., and Ratleff, P. (2011). Did They get it? The Role of Fidelity in Improving Teaching for English Learners. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 54(6): 425–434.

Francis, D.J., and Vaughn, S. (2009). Effective Practices for English Language Learners in the Middle Grades. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 2(4): 289–296.

Lawrence, J., Capotosto, L., Branum-Martin, L., White, C., and Snow, C. (2012). Language Proficiency, Home-Language Status, and English Vocabulary Development: A Longitudinal Follow-Up of the Word Generation Program. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 15(3): 437–451.

Short, D. (2013). Training and Sustaining Effective Teachers of Sheltered Instruction. Theory Into Practice, 52(2): 118–127.

Short, D., Echevarria, J., and Richards-Tutor, C. (2011). Research on Academic Literacy Development in Sheltered Instruction Classrooms. Language Teaching Research, 15(3): 363–380.

Short, D., Fidelman, C., and Louguit, M. (2012). Developing Academic Language in English Language Learners Through Sheltered Instruction. TESOL Quarterly, 46(2): 333–360.

Snow, C.E., Lawrence, J.F., and White, C. (2009). Generating Knowledge of Academic Language Among Urban Middle School Students. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, (Special Issue: Effective Practices for English Language Learners in the Middle Grades), 2(4): 325–344.

Vaughn, S., Martinez, L.R., Linan-Thompson, S., Reutebuch, C.K., Carlson, C.D., and Francis, D.J. (2009). Enhancing Social Studies Vocabulary and Comprehension for Seventh-Grade English Language Learners: Findings From Two Experimental Studies. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 2(4): 297–324.

Nongovernment report, issue brief, or practice guide

August, D., Artzi, L., and Mazrum, J. (2010). Improving Science and Vocabulary Learning of English Language Learners: CREATE Briefs.Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.

Echevarria, J. (2012). Effective Practices for Increasing the Achievement of English Learners.Washington, DC: Center for Research on the Educational Achievement and Teaching of English Language Learners.

Echevarria, J., and Hasbrouck, J. (2009). Response to Intervention and English Learners.Washington, DC: Center for Research on the Educational Achievement and Teaching of English Language Learners.

Echevarria, J., and Short, D. (2011). The SIOP Model: A Professional Development Framework for Comprehensive School-Wide Intervention.Washington, DC: Center for Research on the Educational Achievement and Teaching of English Language Learners.

Himmel, J., Short, D.J., Richards, C., and Echevarria, J. (2009). Using the SIOP Model to Improve Middle School Science Instruction.Washington, DC: Center for Research on the Educational Achievement and Teaching of English Language Learners.