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IES Grant

Title: Collective Capacity (Project C2): Professional Learning to Improve the Quality of Language and Literacy Instruction for English Learners
Center: NCER Year: 2020
Principal Investigator: Roberts, Greg Awardee: University of Texas, Austin
Program: Teaching, Teachers, and the Education Workforce      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (09/01/2020 - 08/31/2024) Award Amount: $1,399,144
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A200516

Co-Principal Investigators: Grimaldo, Letti; Giroi, Shannon

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to develop, refine, and pilot test a job-embedded professional learning model for fourth- and fifth-grade teachers focused on increasing the quality of language and literacy instruction for English Learners (ELs). This project builds on the team's previous Model Demonstration work as leaders of Project ELITE, funded by the Office of Special Education Projects, U.S. Department of Education, which focuses on building educators' capacity to meet the language and literacy needs of English learners within a multi-tiered instructional framework in grades K-5.

Project Activities: The researchers will iteratively develop and refine a professional development model to support teachers' ability to teach literacy skills to upper-elementary EL students. They will conduct usability and feasibility tests and run a pilot study that compares the outcomes of teachers who engaged in Project C2 to business as usual.

Products: This project will develop a professional development model and generate information about its costs. The researchers will also produce peer-reviewed publications, presentations, and additional dissemination products (e.g., research briefs) that reach education stakeholders such as practitioners and policymakers.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The project will take place in major-suburban and urban school settings in Texas. There will be 11 participating elementary schools (3 development and 8 pilot sites).

Sample: Participants will include educators and students of 3 elementary schools (15 teachers and 330 students) during the iterative development phase and 8 elementary schools (64 teachers and 1,024 students) during the pilot study.

Intervention: The researchers will develop a teacher-driven professional learning framework that includes five core features: (1) Evidence-based Practices, (2) Instructional Coaching (3) Peer Collaboration for Practice Refinement, (4) Self-Assessment and Self-Reflection of Teaching, and (5) Teacher-driven Action Planning.

Research Design and Methods: Using an iterative development process, the researchers will fully develop the professional development model and ensure its usability and feasibility. They will examine the promise of the full Project C2 model and its impact on teachers' instruction and student outcomes by conducting a pilot study in 8 schools (4 treatment, 4 business as usual, matched and randomly assigned). Schools will be randomized to one of two conditions, C2 or business as usual. Data will be modeled as fully nested with students in teachers and teachers in schools.

Control Condition: Students in the control condition are provided with the schools' business-as-usual English/Language Arts instruction.

Key Measures: Students' growth in language development and reading comprehension will be tested using the Core Academic Language Skills (CALS) Instrument, Receptive & Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Tests, and The Test of Sentence Reading Efficiency and Comprehension (TOSREC). Additionally, data from the state-mandated measures of TELPAS (Texas English Language Proficiency System) and STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) will be collected for participating students. Teachers' fidelity of implementation and instructional quality will be measured by coding audio-recordings of teacher-delivered instruction and a teacher-knowledge measure.

Data Analytic Strategy: The researchers will use multilevel regression models to generate unbiased estimates of treatment's effect. Effect sizes will be reported as Hedges' g.

Cost Analysis: The researchers will conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis of Project C2 using the ingredients method to determine the total cost and the cost per gain in key outcomes for Project C2 over business-as-usual instruction.