ERIC Number: ED513408
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Reference Count: 2
Enhancing Social Studies Vocabulary and Comprehension for 7th Grade English Language Learners: Findings from Two Experimental Studies
Vaughn, Sharon; Martinez, Leticia R.; Reutebuch, Colleen K.; Carlson, Coleen D.; Thompson, Sylvia L.; Franci, David J.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
The authors identified instructional practices associated with improved outcomes for English language learners (ELLs): (1) research-based vocabulary and concept instruction, (2) the use of media to build comprehension and concept knowledge, (3) the use of graphic organizers, and (4) structured peer-pairings. The purpose of our two studies was to examine the efficacy of incorporating instructional practices associated with improved outcomes into middle-school social studies instruction as a means of enhancing vocabulary knowledge and comprehension for English language learners. The authors' primary research question was: How does a multi-component instructional routine developed to enhance effective outcomes for English language learners and provided by classroom social studies teachers influence students' outcomes in vocabulary and comprehension? Two different non-overlapping samples of classes of 7th grade students (N=381 and N=507) were randomly assigned at the classroom (i.e., section) level to a social studies intervention or to business as usual comparison groups. Although this intervention was developed to address the instructional and language needs of ELLs, the students who were not limited English proficient in the intervention classes also benefited. Students who were limited English proficient outperformed their counterparts in the comparison condition on both the vocabulary and comprehension measures. When both the target group (English language learners) and their classmates benefit from an intervention or practice, it meets the criteria for universal design. This finding is particularly relevant for teachers who have both ELLs and non-LEP (Limited English Proficient) students in their classrooms and who may be concerned about the possible detrimental effect for other students of instruction that targets ELLs. If effective instructional practices for ELLs also benefit non-ELLs, teachers have a strong rationale for implementing the instructional practice. Furthermore, ELLs in the comparison condition made the least gains and lagged behind all other groups on both the vocabulary and content comprehension measures, providing further support for interventions such as the one in this study to alter the course for ELLs.
Descriptors: Intervention, Second Language Learning, Grade 7, Vocabulary Development, English (Second Language), English, Limited English Speaking, Social Studies, Educational Practices, Teaching Methods, Comparative Analysis, Middle Schools, Outcomes of Education
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Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 7; Middle Schools
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: Texas