The study sample included 79 schools in 10 districts in Texas across urban, suburban, small town, and rural sites. English learner students in both structured English immersion and transitional bilingual programs received the intervention during a 75-minute ESL block in kindergarten and 90-minute ESL block in grades 1–3, while the typical state-mandated ESL block was 45 minutes. Comparison students received instruction in a business-as-usual format (i.e., non-enhanced 45-minute ESL learning block). In each school, there were at least two teachers who were certified in bilingual education. Students in grades K–3 were English learners and did not qualify for special education services.
No student demographic information was reported. However, for the ten schools, 62% of the student population were English learners, 91% were low income, and 76% had an English language proficiency rating of intermediate or advanced. The majority of students in the study were in transitional bilingual classrooms. Students were recruited only if they were English learners and did not qualify for special education services.
ELLA-V provided ongoing virtual professional development and coaching and curricula to teachers of English learner students. ELLA-V was implemented in grade 3 in 2013–14, grade 2 in 2014–15, grade 1 in 2015–16, and kindergarten in 2016–17. Teachers received the intervention for a single year, dependent on grade-level implementation.
The curricula used by the teachers differed across grade levels, but all focused on literacy and science content. For Treatment 1, which is the focus of this review, reading was a focus across the grade, compared to Treatment 2's focus on oral language development. Across grades, the curricula for Treatment 1 included Lets Talk Science (LTS), Early Interventions in Reading (EIR-I and EIR-II), and Content Reading Integrating Science for English Language and Literacy Acquisition (CRISELLA).
Students in both structured English immersion and transitional bilingual programs received the intervention during a 75-minute ESL block in kindergarten and a 90-minute ESL block in grades 1–3, while the typical state-mandated ESL block was 45 minutes (p.8).
The comparison condition consisted of teachers of English learner students in each of the four grade levels who may have received professional development, coaching, and used curriculum materials other than those available through ELLA-V (i.e., non-enhanced 45-minute ESL learning block).
Support for implementation
Each school year, intervention teachers in the target grade level received bimonthly 90-minute virtual professional training for 18 sessions between September and May. Intervention teachers were also supported by coaches and observed up to three times a year depending on teacher needs. Coaches provided feedback to teachers specific to teaching English learners. Finally, teachers were provided with curricula that reflected pedagogical best practices and were aligned with content-area standards and the instructional models used in the teacher professional development.