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IES Grant

Title: The Relationship between Elementary Teachers' Language Use and Students' Language and Literacy Achievement
Center: NCER Year: 2017
Principal Investigator: Wanzek, Jeanne Awardee: Vanderbilt University
Program: Effective Instruction      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (07/01/2017 - 06/30/2020) Award Amount: $1,399,988
Type: Exploration Award Number: R305A170203
Description:

Co-Investigators: Christopher Schatschneider (Florida State University); Carla Wood (Florida State University)

Purpose: This study will examine second grade teacher language use and its relation to student language and literacy achievement as well as conditions that moderate this relation. The research team will describe teacher language use across content areas, examine class and teacher characteristics that may influence teacher language use, and produce a conceptual framework of the relation between teacher language and student language/literacy outcomes including conditions moderating this relation (e.g., initial student oral language performance at the individual and classroom level).

Project Activities: Researchers will investigate teacher language use, the relationship of class and teacher characteristics with teacher language use, and the relationship of teacher language use to student end-of-the-year language and literacy outcomes. This team will utilize descriptive and correlational designs to explore associations between the potentially malleable teacher language use during the school day and student outcomes. Members of the research team will collect language samples from each participating teacher twice per month throughout the school year. On the assigned dates each teacher will record all their language on the entire school day when they are with students. The team will transcribe the audio recordings and analyze them for key features of teacher language form, content, and use. In addition, they will measure student oral language, reading, and writing outcomes in the fall and spring of the school year. The team will also assess teacher vocabulary and reasoning level.

Products: Researchers will produce preliminary evidence of potentially promising practices around teacher language use and peer-reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: Participating elementary schools are located across North Florida and Tennessee.

Sample: Study participants include 60 second grade teachers and their approximately 720 students from diverse elementary schools. Students will represent a range of socioeconomic levels.

Intervention: Malleable factors are features of teacher language use which could lead to development of an intervention.

Research Design and Methods: This research team will utilize descriptive and correlational designs to explore associations between the potentially malleable teacher language use during the school day and student outcomes. Researchers will collect language samples of teachers for each teacher twice per month throughout the school year. Each teacher will record the entire school day when they are with students on the assigned dates. For each teacher and each day of recording, researchers will randomly select one 15-minute segment from each core content area taught and two 15-minute segments from times outside of the core content areas to analyze, resulting in 21 hours of language from each teacher or a total of 1,440 total hours of teacher language. The team will transcribe the audio recordings of these segments and analyze them for key features of teacher language form, content, and use. In addition, the researchers will measure student oral language, reading, and writing outcomes in the fall and spring of the school year. They will also assess teacher vocabulary and reasoning level.

Control Condition: Due to the exploratory nature of the research design, there is no control condition.

Key Measures: Primary measures include systematic coding of teacher language including the total amount of language, number of different, sophisticated, and academic words, complexity of language, and amount of direct vocabulary instruction will be conducted. Other measures include class characteristics (class level initial oral language achievement, class level reading ability, content area, socioeconomic status), teacher perception of class capability (academics and motivation), and teacher vocabulary and general ability with the teacher language coding. Student measures include Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-4; Expressive Vocabulary Test-2; Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-5: Receptive Language and Expressive Language; Gates-MacGinitie Reading Comprehension; Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement IV: Letter Word Identification and Passage Comprehension; Writing Samples: Narrative and Expository.

Data Analytic Strategy: This study will utilize a series of standard and random-effects regression models according to each specific aim. In a moderator analysis, the study will examine whether teacher language use interacts with student fall levels of oral language to produce differential language and literacy change across the school year.


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