WWC review of this study

Early Efficacy of Multitiered Dual-Language Instruction: Promoting Preschoolers’ Spanish and English Oral Language

Spencer, T. D., Moran, M., Thompson, M. S., Petersen, D. B., & Restrepo, M. A. (2020). AERA Open, (6)1, 1-16. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1248442

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    81
     Students
    , grade
    PK

Reviewed: February 2022

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
English language proficiency outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

CUBED Assessment: Narrative Language Measures (NLM) Listening- English

Multitiered dual-language instruction – Spencer et al., (2020) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
80 students

6.91

2.86

Yes

 
 
30
 
More Outcomes

Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals: Preschool (CELF-P) Sentence Structure (SS) subtest- English

Multitiered dual-language instruction – Spencer et al., (2020) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
81 students

9.23

7.01

Yes

 
 
21
 

Assessment of Story Comprehension (ASC)

Multitiered dual-language instruction – Spencer et al., (2020) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
81 students

4.24

2.66

Yes

 
 
19
 

Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals: Preschool (CELF-P) Word Structure (WS) subtest- English

Multitiered dual-language instruction – Spencer et al., (2020) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
81 students

6.18

4.40

No

--

Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals: Preschool (CELF-P) Expressive Vocabulary (EV) subtest- English

Multitiered dual-language instruction – Spencer et al., (2020) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
81 students

7.21

7.47

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

CUBED Assessment: Narrative Language Measures (NLM) Listening- Spanish

Multitiered dual-language instruction – Spencer et al., (2020) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
80 students

10.09

7.08

Yes

 
 
18

Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals: Preschool (CELF-P) Expressive Vocabulary (EV) subtest- Spanish

Multitiered dual-language instruction – Spencer et al., (2020) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
81 students

17.22

16.66

No

--


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.


  • 72% English language learners

  • Female: 57%
    Male: 36%

  • Rural, Urban
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    South, West
  • Race
    Other or unknown
    99%
    White
    1%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    95%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    5%

Setting

The study took place in 25 Head Start preschool classrooms in a southwestern state.

Study sample

The analytic sample included 81 Spanish-English dual-language children between the ages of 3 and 5 enrolled in preschool at a Head Start center. The study authors identified students to participate in the study who performed below age expectations on English language assessments. Demographic data were not available for all children in the analytic sample. Of the children in the analytic sample with available demographic data, 56.8 percent were female, 35.8 percent were male, 1.2 percent were white, and 95.1 percent were Hispanic. The primary language for 71.6 percent of children was Spanish, while both English and Spanish were the primary languages for 16.0 percent of children. No child had an Individualized Education Plan. Of the 25 preschool classrooms included in the study, 68.0 percent were half-day and 32.0 percent were full-day. Children in 18 classrooms attended preschool on Monday through Thursday, while children in the remaining 7 classrooms attended preschool on Monday through Friday. Sixty-eight percent of teachers spoke fluent Spanish. Fifty-six percent of teachers were white, 40.0 percent were Hispanic, and 4.0 percent were American Indian. The highest level of education among the 25 teachers was as follows: 16.0 percent of teachers had a high school diploma, 44.0 percent had an associate's degree, 36.0 percent had a bachelor's degree, and 4.0 percent had a graduate degree. The researchers randomly assigned 12 classrooms to the intervention condition and 13 to the comparison condition.

Intervention Group

Preschool children in the multitiered dual-language instruction intervention condition received oral language instruction using the Puente de Cuentos narrative curriculum. The curriculum consisted of 72 stories, 36 stories in English and 36 stories in Spanish. The stories were covered in three units of instruction, with 12 stories per language in each unit, over an eight to ten week period. Each story included two target vocabulary words and a set of five illustrations of the target words. During each lesson, teachers or teaching assistants read a story and then guided children through a series of activities designed to learn the target vocabulary word meaning and retell the story. Complex sentence structures were introduced as the units progressed. Children in a typical intervention classroom received two large-group (Tier 1) lessons in English, two small-group (Tier 2) lessons in Spanish, and two small-group lessons in English per week. Three of the 12 intervention classrooms did not have a Spanish-speaking teacher or teaching assistant so children in those classrooms received the large-group and two small-group lessons in English only. Additionally, 10 children in five of the intervention classrooms did not receive small-group instruction because their classroom included more children who were eligible to participate in the intervention than space available for the small-group instruction. Parents of children in the intervention group also received family engagement activities in Spanish. The family engagement activities featured the 72 stories from the Puente de Cuentos curriculum. The family engagement activities included instructions for parents to help their children use the target words and retell the story.

Comparison Group

The comparison group received business-as-usual instruction. Preschool children in the comparison group primarily received classroom instruction in English and in large groups. Spanish instruction was occasionally used in comparison classrooms if the teacher was Spanish-speaking.

Support for implementation

Classroom teachers and teaching assistants attended a full-day training prior to the start of the school year. The training consisted of 13 video modules and practice teaching a lesson. Each module was 5 to 15 minutes in length and provided information on the program and guidelines for classroom instruction. The teachers received flash drives with the video modules to reference as needed throughout the study. Research assistants provided 1 to 2 weeks of coaching support at the start of the intervention. Throughout the study, research assistants visited each classroom one or two times per week to provide support, administer the assessments, and conduct fidelity observations.

 

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