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Project Title:

Fostering School Success for English Learners: Toward New Directions in Policy, Practice, and Research
PIN: IOM-BCYF-14-06        

Major Unit:

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Institute of Medicine

Sub Unit: Board on Children, Youth, and Families
Board on Science Education

RSO: Le Menestrel, Suzanne

Subject/Focus Area: Behavioral and Social Sciences; Education; Health and Medicine; Policy for Science and Technology

Project Scope
An ad hoc committee under the auspices of the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council will conduct a study to review, synthesize and critically analyze evidence on the developmental progress and school success of English Learners (ELs), who live in homes in which a language other than English is spoken, from birth through grade 12. The committee will focus on two specific and overlapping areas: (1) the early development of ELs, and (2) instructional practices and systems that support ELs. The committee will explore the implementation implications of its recommendations within the frame of cost and scalability. The committee will develop findings and recommendations on policies and practices in the range of settings where young ELs learn, grow, and develop, including homes and classrooms. The committee will also identify areas for future research.

Early Development of ELs

The committee will examine the foundational elements of language development, developmental progress, school entry, and practices for early school success of young ELs birth to age 8. Specific questions of interest include:

1.  How do young ELs develop (i.e., what are the normative learning trajectories across domains, including socio-emotional and health as well as language and knowledge development in any/all languages spoken by a child)?

2.  What are the roles of language, culture and cultural identity in the development of young ELs?

3.  What practices and principles show evidence of positively affecting socio-emotional well-being and health, language and literacy development, and content learning for young ELs birth to 8 years old across various settings (e.g., home, child care, health care, school, inclusive settings)?  

4.  What strategies and practices show evidence of supporting young ELs who are also children with disabilities, homeless, from migrant families, and from populations such as Native Americans/Native Alaskans, and Asian American and Pacific Islanders?

5.  What strategies, practices and interventions show evidence of supporting optimal transitions and a continuum of education for young ELs from birth through third grade (i.e., between home, early childhood education and care settings, pre-K, kindergarten, and through third grade)? What are the barriers to implementing a continuum of education for young ELs?

6.  What does the literature suggest regarding promising practices in the identification, screening, and assessment of ELs, from birth through third grade, to reliably document the progress of young children's learning, health, and development?   

7.  What does the literature suggest regarding improvements needed in data collection and measurement involving young ELs to enhance the next generation of research and evaluation studies in this area?  

8.  What does the literature suggest regarding promising practices of early learning (birth to grade 3) programs and systems, that are linguistically and culturally responsive to young ELs and their parents/families and promote long-term learning, health, and academic achievement among ELs?

Instructional Practices and Systems that Support ELs The work of the committee in the second area of focus will be grounded in elucidating instructional practices and systems that can help ELs to attain both the new content area standards as well as the newly emerging English language proficiency standards (particularly as the latter are viewed through the Council of Chief State School Officers English Language Development (ELD) Framework).  Specific questions of interest include:

1.  What should the ELD program look like? 

2.  What are the key features of English as a Second Language (ESL)/ELD instruction that foster acquisition of the complex social and academic uses of language delineated in the new content standards?

3.  How should ESL/ELD instruction be coordinated and integrated with the “regular” core content instructional program?   

4.  What principles should govern how educational programs provide access to both English language development and rigorous academic content for ELs?  

5.  How should the heterogeneity of the EL student population be addressed? For example, what should ESL/ELD instruction look like for ELs at different levels of English language proficiency?

6.  What are appropriate time expectations for progress in various components of content and language development that can be considered in accountability systems?

7.  What are the competencies of teachers and staff working with ELs? 

As outcomes from its review and findings, the committee will:

·    Recommend policies and practices that have been shown to enhance early school success, health, and improve educational outcomes for young ELs. 

·    Identify gaps in knowledge and develop a conceptual framework to guide future research priority-setting, including priority-setting on data collection and evaluation activities on young ELs.

·    Recommend policies and practices to improve: accountability systems, Title I and Title III state peer reviews, and quality of guidance to states regarding allowable ELD instructional practices and programs for systems in program improvement.

·    Provide recommendations for specific sub-categories of EL students (e.g., elementary beginning English level students; elementary intermediate English level students; secondary school newcomer students; students with interrupted formal education (SIFE); secondary school long term English learner students; etc.)

·    Develop evidence-based resources, derived from the report, for practitioners and policymakers to guide efforts to improve instructional practices with ELs.

Project Duration: 24 months    

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Committee Membership
Committee Membership

 Meeting 1 - 03/25/2015
 Meeting 2 - 05/27/2015
 Meeting 3 - 07/16/2015
 Meeting 4 - 10/07/2015
 Meeting 5 - 01/21/2016
 Meeting 6 - 03/17/2016


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