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IES Grant

Title: Addressing the Growing Diversity of Preschool Populations through Low Incidence Language Barriers: Hmong Language Development to Improve Assessment Approaches
Center: NCER Year: 2017
Principal Investigator: Erickson, Lori Awardee: Saint Paul Public Schools, ISD 625
Program: Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in Education Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (08/01/2017-07/31/2019) Award Amount: $400,000
Type: Researcher-Practitioner Partnership Award Number: R305H170073

Co-Principal Investigators: Alisha Wackerle-Hollman and Scott McConnell, University of Minnesota

Partner Institutions: Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) and the University of Minnesota

Purpose: In an age of growing early childhood accountability, research has focused on improving instruction, measurement, curricula, and professional development in early childhood education settings for most teachers and the children they serve. However, within these advances, little attention has focused on low incidence populations, including ethnically and linguistically diverse students. Current data from St. Paul Public Schools indicate that preschool Hmong students are significantly more at risk (as indicated by not meeting benchmark criteria on early literacy and language screening measures in English) than their White counterparts. Assessing performance only in English presents a barrier to understanding how students' native language may impact their performance. Saint Paul Public Schools and the University of Minnesota will engage in a partnership to explore, understand and document Hmong language development and use these results to inform the initial design of Hmong language measures for preschool age students.

Partnership Activities: The partnership will occur in four phases designed to (1) build partnership capacity through quarterly meetings and planning sessions, (2) understand Hmong language development by engaging the community in participatory research methodology sessions, (3) translate the important features of the Hmong language into early literacy and language measures that can be piloted within SPPS, and (4) build community engagement strategies. SPPS and UM will work together at every phase of to explore Hmong language development and develop and pilot-test an initial version of the Individual Growth and Development Indicators (IGDIs).

Setting: This project will take place in Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS), Minnesota. SPPS serves the largest urban Hmong community in the United States.

Population/Sample: This project will focus on Hmong community members and preschool-aged children attending SPPS pre-k programs. Approximately 300 community members, including parents, elders and caregivers, and up to 180 Hmong-speaking preschoolers will participate in the study.

Initial Research: In year 1/phase 1, the partners will launch the partnership and establish process and procedures for building the partnership. In year 1/phase 2, the partners will focus on community develop and distribute a community survey and conduct focus groups to understand Hmong language development and community values. In year 2/phase 3, the partners will develop Hmong IGDI measures, field test the new measures with a small sample of Hmong pre-k students, revise and finalize the measures, and conduct a pilot test with larger sample to examine item level functioning. In year 2/phase 4, the partners will create and implement a community engagement plan to emphasize the important features of Hmong language development and highlight how this development may relate to important academic outcomes, such as reading.

Outcomes: The partnership will result in the development of a Hmong language version of the Individual Growth and Development Indicators that can be used by educators in SPPS and other school districts with a Hmong population to assess preschool children's early language and literacy skills. At the end of the partnership project, the partners will move forward with a plan for continued development and validation of the Hmong IGDI measures. The partners will also disseminate findings at practitioner meetings and national conferences, and produce articles for peer-reviewed practitioner and researcher journals.

Related IES Projects:
Expanding Individual Growth and Development Indicators of Language and Early Literacy for Universal Screening in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support with Three-Year-Olds (R305A160034)
Expanding Early Language and Literacy Spanish Individual Growth and Development Indicators to Monitor Progress: PM-S-IGDIs (R305A160077)
Individual Growth and Development Indicators: Automated Applications for Performance Evaluation of Early Literary (IGDI-APEL) (R305A140065)
Making Progress with Progress Monitoring: Developing Early Literacy and Language Individual and Growth Development Indicators as Progress Monitoring Tools (R305A160080)
Research and Development of Spanish Individual Growth and Development Indicators (S-IGDIs): Early Literacy Identification Measures for Spanish-English Bilingual Children (R305A120449)