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IES Grant

Title: Personalizing Literacy Instruction for English Learners
Center: NCER Year: 2021
Principal Investigator: Hwang, Jin Kyoung Awardee: University of California, Irvine
Program: English Learners      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (07/01/2021 – 06/30/2025) Award Amount: $1,693,627
Type: Exploration Award Number: R305A210077

Co-Principal Investigators: Adams, Ashley; Kim, Young-Suk

Purpose: With growing numbers of English learners (ELs) in the U.S., there is a need to better understand how to support their literacy development during the early grades so that they can succeed academically. Three aims of this project are to: 1) examine the nature of literacy instruction in kindergarten through third grade EL classrooms; 2) examine child characteristics by instruction interaction effects on ELs' later language and literacy outcomes; and 3) investigate how the Assessment-to-Instruction (A2i) algorithms might be modified and enhanced to better capture ELs' instructional needs.

Project Activities: The research team will use both extant and primary data in this project. The extant dataset includes kindergarten through third grade students' assessment data in their language, literacy, and executive functioning skills as well as classroom observation during their literacy instruction. For new data collection, the research team will observe and video record literacy instruction in kindergarten through third grade classrooms with a large number of ELs, and also assess ELs' language, literacy, and executive functioning skills. Extant and new classroom observation data will be coded with the OLOS (Optimizing Learning Opportunities for Students) observation system. The research team will analyze coded  observation data and students' test scores to address the research questions.

Products: Products from this project will include modified A2i algorithms for ELs. In addition, the research team will also produce peer-reviewed publications and participate in conference presentations.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study uses both the extant data that already have been collected in two elementary schools in a suburban school district in Arizona and new data that researchers will collect in elementary schools in a suburban district in southern California.

Sample: The extant data include 223 kindergarten through third grade ELs (94% Hispanic) and their teachers (n = 8) in two elementary schools from the same school district in Arizona. These schools serve economically and ethnically diverse students (79% eligible for free or reduced lunch program, 80% Hispanic, 18% ELs). These children were from structured English immersion classrooms, and all students in these classes were classified as ELs by their school district. The research team will collect additional data from elementary schools (32 classrooms, 20 students in each classroom) in southern California. The participating school district in southern California serves highly diverse students (85% eligible for free or reduced lunch program, 85% Hispanic, and 53% ELs).

Factors: This study will examine the relation between ELs' malleable characteristics and the literacy instruction they receive. Specifically, the study will explore what constellations of skills ELs bring into their learning environment and how those skills interact with the literacy instruction they receive. In addition, the study will examine whether ELs' language, literacy, and cognitive skills, such as executive functioning, and discourse moves during literacy instruction have main and interaction effects with literacy instruction they receive on their language and literacy outcomes at the end of the school year.

Research Design and Methods: This study involves both primary data collection and data analysis. First, the research team will code video recordings from the extant data that were collected from eight classrooms using the OLOS observation system. In the extant data, classroom observations were   conducted three times in the 2015–2016 school year. The researchers will also conduct observations three times a year in newly recruited schools in Years 2 and 3 and code them using OLOS. In the extant data, students were assessed in their language, literacy, and executive functioning skills twice during the school year; the researchers will use the same measures with their new sample and assess the students twice each year. The research team will use the coded observation data as well as students' assessment data to examine nature of and variability in literacy instruction among EL classes and test whether there are child by instruction interaction effects in ELs' later outcomes. In addition, the researchers will calculate recommended amounts and types of instruction for each student using the currently available A2i algorithms, as well as distance from recommendation (DFR)—the difference between the recommended and observed amounts for each type of instruction.

Control Condition: There is no control condition in this study.

Key Measures: Measures for the study include scores from A2i online adaptive assessments (Word Match Game, Letters2Meaning, Reading2Comprehension), Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement, Gates MacGinitie Reading Test, Social Skills Improvement System Rating Scale, Head Toes Knees Shoulders, and teacher reports of students' English and Spanish proficiency. Classroom observations will be coded using the OLOS observation system.

Data Analytic Strategy: The research team will conduct a series of HLM analyses to address the main research questions. In addition, they will conduct further analyses using simulations to modify the A2i algorithms.

Cost Analysis: Not applicable for this project.

Related IES Projects: Making Individualized Literacy Instruction Available to All Teachers: Adapting the Assessment to Instruction (A2i) Software for Multiple Real-World Contexts (R305A130517); Optimizing Learning Opportunities for Students' (OLOS) Early Learning Observation System (R305N160050)