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Project Title:

Supporting English Learners in STEM Subjects
PIN: DBASSE-BOSE-16-01        

Major Unit:

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

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

RSO: Stephens, Amy

Subject/Focus Area: Education

Project Scope
The committee will examine research on supporting ELs pre-K through 12th grades in learning, teaching, and assessment in STEM subjects, including the role of language in learning STEM; successful programs or interventions both within the United States and abroad, and the learning needs of both pre-service and in-service STEM teachers with respect to ELs. The committee will consider the complex social and academic use of language delineated in the new mathematics and science standards, the diversity of the population of ELs (e.g., age, language proficiency, country of origin, culture and community, SES, disability status), and the integration of English as a second language instruction with core instructional programs in STEM. In the context of this study, the committee will consider all children and youth who are learning and speaking a language other than English at home (often referred to as dual- or multi-language learners) and give particular attention to students who have limited English skills (often referred to as English Language Learners) and who may have been formally identified as such by the school or district. The committee will address the following questions:

1) Based on research-informed and field-tested models, strategies, and approaches, what are promising approaches to support ELs (including students with disabilities) in learning STEM? Given the diversity within the ELs population, what has worked, for whom, and under what conditions? What can be learned from these models and what additional research is needed to understand what makes them effective? What commonly used approaches may be less effective?

2) What is the role of teachers in supporting the success of ELs in STEM? What is known about the biases teachers may bring to their work with EL students and how these can be effectively addressed? What kinds of curriculum, professional development experiences, and assessment are needed in order for STEM teachers to improve their support for ELs in STEM?

3) How can assessments in STEM (both formative and summative) be designed to reflect the new content standards and to be appropriate for EL students? What assessment accommodations might need to be considered?

4) How do policies and practices at the national, state, and local level constrain or facilitate efforts to better support ELs in STEM (including policies related to identification of students)? What kinds of changes in policy and practice are needed?

5) What are the gaps in the current research base and what are the key directions for research, both short-term and long-term?

Project Duration: 30 months    

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Committee Membership
Committee Membership

 Meeting 1 - 04/10/2017
 Meeting 2 - 07/26/2017
 Meeting 3 - 10/26/2017
 Meeting 4 - 12/07/2017
 Meeting 5 - 01/24/2018
 Meeting 6 - 03/22/2018


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