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IES Grant

Title: Exploring Longitudinal Outcomes and Trajectories for English Language Learners (ELOTE)
Center: NCER Year: 2014
Principal Investigator: Walqui, Aída Awardee: WestEd
Program: Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in Education Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (7/1/2014 – 6/30/2016) Award Amount: $399,780
Type: Researcher-Practitioner Partnership Award Number: R305H140032

Co-Principal Investigators: Michael Sorum, Genna Edmonds (Fort Worth Independent School District)

Partner: Fort Worth Independent School District

Education Issue: In 2011, 54% of immigrant students were reported as dropouts in the Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD). Students who immigrate to the U.S. during adolescence must simultaneously learn challenging academic content in English as they acculturate to the U.S. All secondary immigrant newcomers in FWISD attend International Newcomer Academy for one year and Language Centers at four middle and seven high schools to develop academic and language skills, but the district is looking for ways to improve its programs and strengthen systems for tracking student progress.

Partnership Goal: The purpose of this grant is to study the academic trajectories and outcomes of secondary immigrant English Language Learners in order to inform district policies, improve instructional and extracurricular programs, and refine classroom practices to better meet the needs of ELLs.

Partners and Partnership Activities: The structure of this new partnership between WestEd and FWISD includes a steering committee, Language Center Advisory Group, two research subgroups, and an external advisory board. The partnership will submit a grant application to build on what is learned during work carried out by this grant.

Setting: The studies will take place in FWISD, a district in the Dallas Fort Worth metropolitan area with approximately 28% of ELLs.

Population/Sample: Participants for this study include all ELL sixth graders enrolled in FWISD in the 2006-2007 school year, and all ELL ninth graders enrolled in FWISD in the 2009-2010 school year. These students were expected to have graduated in 2013.

Initial Studies: The research team will address two connected goals. First, researchers will compare the academic trajectories of two cohorts of newcomers, one entering sixth grade and one entering ninth grade, to that of the overall group of ELLs. Reclassification out of ELL status, progress in English language proficiency, standardized test scores, summative outcomes (such as graduation) and attendance will be compared for the two groups. Second, researchers will carry out two case studies of Language Center programs (one at a middle school and another high school) to identify promising programs and practices for secondary immigrant ELLs. These case studies will investigate academic, language, and social supports for ELLs in both school and extracurricular settings.