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  1. F. Chris Curran
  2. http://www.ufedpolicy.org
  3. Associate Professor & Director of the Education Policy Research Center
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Florida
  1. Mark B. Pacheco
  2. Assistant Professor, Bilingual Education
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University of Florida
  1. Lelydeyvis Boza
  2. Graduate Research Assistant
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University of Florida
  1. Amber Deig
  2. Doctoral Candidate, Bilingual Education
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University of Florida
  1. Katharine Harris
  2. PhD Student
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University of Florida
  1. Tiffany Tan
  2. PhD Student, Graduate Assistant
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University of Florida

Multilingual Learners and Elementary Science Achievement:

NSF Awards: 2100419

2022 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6

Students who are in the process of adding English to their linguistic repertoires represent an increasing proportion of students in US public schoolsThis research examines the elementary school science test score trajectories of multilingual students with the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS). We address the following research questions: How do science test performance trajectories vary across and within MLs student groups in elementary school? Specifically, how do they vary for a) ML students who receive formal EL services at school and those that do not, b) ML students who predominantly speak English in the home and those that predominantly speak another language, c) ML students who are Spanish speakers and ML students who speak less common languages? Our study provides some of the first national evidence on the elementary school science test score trajectories of multilingual learners. We find evidence of significant convergences in ML student performance across the elementary school years, particularly among non-Spanish speaking ML students.

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Discussion from the 2022 STEM For All Video Showcase (8 posts)
  • Icon for: F. Chris Curran

    F. Chris Curran

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor & Director of the Education Policy Research Center
    May 9, 2022 | 03:02 p.m.

    Welcome to our STEM For All Video Showcase video for the project "Exploratory Evidence on the Factors that Relate to Elementary School Science Learning Gains Among English Language Learners"! This video highlights our research plan and preliminary findings from analyses of the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS).

    Our research team is leveraging the ECLS to understand the elementary school science learning trajectories of multilingual students (MLs), those who come from households where a language other than English is spoken. In our preliminary work, we document different trajectories of science test score performance for subgroups of ML students - from those receiving formal ELL services to those who are not officially recognized by schools.  Our future work will focus on identifying the science and language instructional strategies that are most predictive of positive science learning gains for ML students.

    We look forward to your feedback, questions, and engaging further throughout the Showcase!

    Sincerely,
    F. Chris Curran
    Associate Professor, University of Florida

     
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    Lelydeyvis Boza
  • Icon for: Barry Fishman

    Barry Fishman

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 10, 2022 | 10:45 a.m.

    Such important work, team! I really appreciate the effort to look more deeply into academic performance as a product of many different factors, especially language differences. (All learning is language-based to a considerable degree.) I especially respect the multi-faceted approach you are taking to defining ML students, not trying to fit everyone into one category.

    Your video hints at possible interventions. I know that this work is early-stage and still at the discovery/understanding phase, but have you observed different classroom strategies that seem to benefit ML learners? In past work, I've observed that "good teaching strategies" seem somewhat generic (e.g., "know where your learner is starting out", "use formative assessment frequently"). Are there strategies that are specific to ML learners?

     
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    Lelydeyvis Boza
  • Icon for: Andresse St Rose

    Andresse St Rose

    Facilitator
    Director of Educational Research and Evaluation
    May 10, 2022 | 03:28 p.m.

    I appreciate the goal of this study as too often we view learning English as the main priority for the education of MLs (which is of course important as Barry describes above), but in doing so can ignore assets and other interests, like science, that students have. It sounds like the team had to grapple with both how to refer to and define Multilingual Learners--how did you define MLs? I am not terribly familiar with ECLS, I assume there is a variable for ML (or similar designation) and/or did the team have to recode?

     
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    Lelydeyvis Boza
  • Icon for: F. Chris Curran

    F. Chris Curran

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor & Director of the Education Policy Research Center
    May 12, 2022 | 02:44 p.m.

    Thanks for the comments!  We have spent considerable time thinking through the operationalization of multilingual learners (as well as the choice of term).  We currently conceptualize MLs as encompassing any students who come from households where a non-English language is spoken.  Within this group, we then distinguish those for whom English is not primary, those who are identified as non-native English speakers, those receiving ELL services through school, and those that speak a non-Spanish language.  The ECLS has a robust set of measures that allows us to identify each of these groups, which we discuss as subgroups of the broader ML classification.

     
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    Lelydeyvis Boza
    Andresse St Rose
  • Icon for: Janet Coffey

    Janet Coffey

    Facilitator
    Program Director, Science Learning
    May 13, 2022 | 02:58 a.m.

    Very interesting and important work.  Could you talk more about how you define and measure science achievement?  Thank you!

     
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    Lelydeyvis Boza
  • Icon for: F. Chris Curran

    F. Chris Curran

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor & Director of the Education Policy Research Center
    May 17, 2022 | 08:36 a.m.

    Hi Janet,

    Thanks for the question!  We focus on performance on a standardized science assessment administered by the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study program staff as our measure of science test performance. In the draft paper, we try to be clear that this does not incorporate all forms of science "achievement" though but is rather a measure of science performance on a test.  The ECLS science assessment is a low-stakes test that science was based on the 2009 science standards from six states (Florida, New Mexico, Texas, California, Arizona, and Virginia) and was reviewed by a panel of experts made up of curriculum specialists and educators.

    In future iterations of the work, we plan to incorporate teacher ratings of science performance - potentially capturing other aspects of science achievement not picked up by the standardized assessment.

     
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    Lelydeyvis Boza
  • Icon for: Francheska Figueroa

    Francheska Figueroa

    Researcher
    May 16, 2022 | 01:13 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing your work and your (clearly) continued passion working with multilingual learners. I have spent most of my career working this (too often) marginalized population and agree with you that even the term English learner further limits how brilliant these students are! So I celebrate you and your work and will continue to watch for the outcomes as you noted that this study was in it's preliminary phase.

     
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    Lelydeyvis Boza
  • Icon for: F. Chris Curran

    F. Chris Curran

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor & Director of the Education Policy Research Center
    May 17, 2022 | 08:37 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing and for your work supporting MLs!

     
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    Lelydeyvis Boza
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