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ELLs' Literacy Improved Under Popular Instructional Model, Study Finds

The first phase of a multiyear evaluation of an instructional approach used by teachers with large numbers of English-learners in their mainstream classrooms found that literacy outcomes for ELLs improved, and their progress did not come at the expense of their English-proficient peers.

The experimental study of Project GLAD—or Guided Language Acquisition and Development—was conducted by researchers at Education Northwest, and involved more than 2,000 5th-grade students in 30 Idaho elementary schools. Project GLAD is used by nearly 50,000 teachers in 13 states, and has been especially popular in schools on the West Coast.¬†

Early results from the randomized, controlled trial showed that English-learners in classrooms where Project GLAD was used by teachers performed better in reading comprehension and vocabulary and they scored higher for ideas they used in their essays and how they organized their writing than their ELL peers who were in non-Project GLAD classrooms.  Their performance, however, did not catch up to that of their English-proficient peers, the results showed.

Education Northwest was awarded a $2.8 million federal grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) for the four-year study of Project GLAD. This is the first rigorous evaluation of the instructional approach that has been in use for more than two decades. Project GLAD is an approach used by teachers to develop students' academic English.

To learn more about the preliminary findings from the study, this video features highlights and an interview with Theresa Deussen, the primary investigator.

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