WWC review of this study

Early Evaluation Findings from the Instructional Conversation Study: Culturally Responsive Teaching Outcomes for Diverse Learners in Elementary School

Portes, Pedro R.; González Canché, Manuel; Boada, Diego; Whatley, Melissa E. (2018). American Educational Research Journal, v55 n3 p488-531. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1180090

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grades

Reviewed: February 2020

No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards with reservations
General Mathematics Achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) - Math

IES Funded Studies (NCER) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

English learners, grade 5;
325 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • 51% English language learners

  • Female: 51%
    Male: 49%
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  • Race
    Other or unknown
  • Ethnicity
    Not Hispanic or Latino    


The study was conducted in 22 schools within 14 school districts in one Southeastern state. (p. 14)

Study sample

The overall study included students in grades 3 and 5. About half (51 percent) of the students in the study were English learners. Fifty-one percent of students enrolled in the study were female. Most (95 percent) of the English learners were Hispanic. (pp. 12, 14)

Intervention Group

The intervention condition is Instructional Conversations, a practice for teachers to implement to facilitate conversations among students. In these conversations, the teacher guides discussions and models academic language and English use with a clear instructional goal in mind. These conversations occur for approximately 20 minutes, once or twice weekly, and include the teacher and between two and seven students. Teachers were asked to incorporate Instructional Conversations in all content areas and integrate vocabulary, phonemic awareness, and reading comprehension during science, math, and social studies instruction. Instructional Conversations is one of five standards from a pedagogical framework for making teaching and learning meaningful that was designed by the Center for Research on Excellence and Diversity in Education (CREDE). (p. 4, 15)

Comparison Group

Teachers in the comparison condition continued business-as-usual instructional practices. (p. 15)

Support for implementation

The intervention teachers underwent a 100-hour professional development program. Trained coaches worked with teachers for two years, including a practice year and the year of study implementation. The coaches provided support and feedback and monitored teachers' implementation of Instructional Conversations and their instructional practices every month during the practice year. (p. 15)


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