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IES Grant

Title: Effects of Home and Classroom Practices on Language, Cognitive, and Social Development of Young Spanish-Speaking English Learners
Center: NCER Year: 2020
Principal Investigator: Landry, Susan H. Awardee: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Program: Early Learning Programs and Policies      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 years (07/01/2020 - 06/30/2025) Award Amount: $3,299,993
Type: Efficacy Award Number: R305A200251
Description:

Co-Principal Investigators: Carlo, Maria; Zucker, Tricia

Purpose: Young English learners (ELs) living in poverty are at risk for later reading difficulties and are less likely than their peers to encounter the level of responsive, extended conversations in their homes and preschools needed for school readiness. Furthermore, many types of dual language programs in U.S. schools operate in ways that delay regular exposure to English until later grades, rather than systematically teaching in ways that build on students' knowledge of their home language to accelerate English proficiency. The purpose of this project is to evaluate a dual- language approach that (a) maintains and improves the home language of dual language learners (DLLs) who speak mostly Spanish in their homes via parent coaching and (b) simultaneously coaches teachers to use an explicit cross-language transfer approach in which sophisticated concepts are introduced in Spanish before English. The expected outcome of this project is increased understanding of effective classroom instruction and family engagement approaches for DLLs' at risk of later reading difficulties.

Project Activities: Researchers will implement a randomized controlled trial (RCT) across four cohorts. Each year, a new cohort of classrooms will be assigned to the teacher intervention or the waitlist control condition. Children will then be screened and evaluated as to their eligibility for Tier 2 supports. The eight lowest consented children will be pretested and then assigned to the intervention or to the active parent control group. Each cohort thus includes four groups: (1) teacher plus parent, (2) teacher only, (3) parent only, and (4) control. In the final year of the project, researchers will complete analysis and dissemination. Researchers will also complete cost and cost effectiveness analyses.

Products: Researchers will produce evidence as to the efficacy of a parent and teacher coaching model designed for use with DLLs, as well as information about the cost and cost effectiveness of the intervention. Findings from this project will be shared via conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will occur in the urban Houston Independent School District (Texas).

Sample: The sample will include 90 prekindergarten (pre-k) classrooms that use a dual language model called Transitional Bilingual in which 90 percent of pre-k instruction is in Spanish and 10 percent is in English. A sample of 720 Tier-2 eligible children and their families within these classrooms will participate. Eligible 4-year-old children will meet screening criterion and speak Spanish at home. Researchers expect almost all Hispanic or Latino participants.

Intervention: Researchers will examine individual teacher and parent coaching interventions as well as a combined teacher-and-parent intervention. These aligned approaches are designed to improve children's bilingual language development via adults' use of contingent responsiveness, guided learning, and extended discourse. In addition, both interventions include coaching to establish routines that support rich discourse during daily activities and book reading.

Research Design and Methods: Researchers will implement a randomized controlled trial (RCT) across four cohorts. Each year, a new cohort of classrooms will be assigned to the teacher intervention or the waitlist control condition. Children will then be screened and evaluated as to their eligibility for Tier 2 supports. The eight lowest consented children will be pretested and then assigned to the intervention or to the active parent control group. Each cohort thus includes four groups: (1) teacher plus parent, (2) teacher only, (3) parent only, and (4) control. In the final year of the project, researchers will complete analysis and dissemination. Researchers will also carry out cost and cost effectiveness analyses.

Control Condition: Participants in the control condition will receive family handouts on developmental milestones and books. Control teachers will use their existing core curriculum (FrogStreet).

Key Measures: Researchers will measure the quality of teacher and parent child-directed discourse including their responsiveness and use of language facilitation strategies. These measures include micro-analysis of malleable adult behaviors known to facilitate children's language development. Researchers will measure children's Spanish and English oral language outcomes, including proximal and distal measures of basic and academic language. They will assess children's executive function and social-behavioral outcomes. They will also measure (a) home language use patterns, (b) parent education, (c) children's initial skill levels, (d) classroom language usage patterns (L1/L1), and (e) teacher knowledge, all of which may moderate intervention effects.

Data Analysis: Researchers will use linear and generalized linear models including analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) framework and multi-level modeling for the primary data analyses.

Cost Analysis: They will estimate costs by (a) identifying ingredients/resources, (b) determining the cost of the resources, (c) analyzing the extent to which resource use are aligned with the original design, and (d) calculating cost effectiveness.

Related Projects: Improving School Readiness of High-Risk Preschoolers: Combining High-Quality Instructional Strategies with Responsive Training for Teachers and Parents (R305A090212; Internet Implementation of Empirically Supported Interventions That Can Be Remotely Delivered in Authentic Preschool Programs for Mothers and Teachers: Evaluation of Direct Child and Teacher Outcomes (R305A140386)


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