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Research on ELLs Brought to You By Taxpayers' Dollars

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I inquired about current research on English-language learners funded by the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education, and the staff sent me a list of 32 projects that are in the works. Some focus on ELLs exclusively, and others include large samples of such students.

I had no idea that the institute was paying for so many studies about these students and I wonder if at some point in my reporting about ELLs, I'll no longer read that high-quality research about instruction for them is scant. Here's the list of projects that the staff compiled. (The acronyms on the list are spelled out on the institute's home page.)

Interestingly, one study underway by researchers at Johns Hopkins University--scheduled for completion in 2008 and paid for with a grant of $5.4 million--seems designed to answer that on-going question of what kinds of programs are most effective for ELLs. It's called "Effects of Transitional Bilingual Education, Two-Way Bilingual, and Structured English Immersion Programs and the Literacy and Oracy of Spanish-Dominant Children." Another study I'm keeping an eye on is "Optimizing Educational Outcomes for English Language Learners," conducted by researchers from the University of Houston, Center for Applied Linguistics, and the University of Texas, Austin. It's also scheduled for completion in 2008.

See my earlier post about the institute's recent publication on research-based recommendations for ELLs, "Education Department's 'Practice Guide' Urges Data-Driven Instruction for ELLs." Here's a viewpoint from blogger edbizbuzz.com about that publication.

1 Comment

Federally-funded research, including research funded by IES, that includes ELLs in a sample, but does not disaggregate outcome data on ELLS by levels of language proficiency is not really research about ELLs. It is one way the government can pretend they are funding ELL research when they are not. You need to look at these studies to determine if they are generic education studies or studies that will inform us about which practices work best to educate ELLs of varying levels of language proficiency.

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