Research on the literacy and language development of Spanish-speaking English language learners
VIAS Core B
Research Core The Research Core helps select common instruments for the four projects; develops new assessments, questionnaires, and protocols for the projects; maintains a cross-project database; analyzes data collected across the projects; reports on analyses of these data; and provides technical assistance to the projects in the areas of assessment and analysis. The Research Core is extending the work of the projects by developing an assessment of students’ general academic vocabulary (grades 1-8). It is also exploring approaches to testing depth of word knowledge and multi-word knowledge.
The Research Core of the Vocabulary Instruction and Assessment for Spanish Speakers (VIAS) project assists in selecting common instrumentation across the three subprojects; develops new assessments, questionnaires, and protocols to be used by the subprojects; maintains a cross-project database; conducts and reports on analyses of data collected across the subprojects; and provides technical assistance to the subprojects in the areas of assessment and analyses.
Studies and Results
Research Core staff members take the lead in coordination among subprojects in the development of assessments, observation prototocols, and surveys. They participate in weekly team meetings, monthly program project conference calls, and monthly cross-division research meetings to ensure that the activities of the various subprojects and Research Core are aligned. Research Core staff members also consult on a regular basis with advisory board members to ensure that their expertise is accessed as needed. In preparation for the November advisory board meeting, Research Core staff worked with subprojects in generating cross-project research questions.
Research Core staff has assisted in the selection of standardized first and second language proficiency and literacy instruments to ensure that data generated from the measures would be available to answer the cross-project research questions.
Research Core staff members have moved forward in the development of assessments that are needed to collect the data necessary to answer the cross-project research questions and additionally make a contribution to the field. The Research Core has commissioned reviews of the literature related to assessing depth of word knowledge, the ability to derive meaning from context,and multiword knowledge. Based on the reviews and subsequent discussions with advisory board members, the program project is developing an assessment of students’ knowledge of vocabulary that appears frequently in grade-level texts in Grades 1–8. This assessment, the Word Inventory II, builds on work conducted by Subproject 3 in Years 1 and 2 of the program project grant. As part of this work, the Reseach Core is exploring methods to assess this knowledge in young children who may require an individually administered oral assessment rather than a reading test. It is also exploring how to assess depth of word knowledge in the context of assessing breadth of word knowledge. Several forms of the Word Inventory II will be pilot tested in the beginning of Year 4, with the intention of using the assessment across subprojects in the spring of Year 4. Additionally, the Research Core is exploring the feasibility of deveoping an assessment of multiword knowledge.
The Research Core has developed a prototype for assessing fidelity of implementation and surveys to collect background information on the students, teachers, and schools involved in the three subprojects. Staff members are in the process of developing a measure of teacher knowledge that builds on current research conducted by Dr. Joanne Carlisle in assessing teacher knowledge in the areas of phonics and fluency. Research Core staff members are also in the process of developing a measure of general classroom quality that builds on prior research.
The Research Core staff has reviewed and updated as needed the guide for the design and management of the Vocabulary Improvement and Assessment (VIAS) cross-project database. This guide creates a solid foundation for communication about and coordination of efforts around data collection and archiving of data for the subprojects.To date, data from Subproject 1 has been entered into the system annually.
Research core staff members provide ongoing technical assistance to the projects in data management and research design as well as in the design of their researcher-developed measures.
Research Core staff members help to ensure that research activities across the subprojects are coordinated and aligned with the overall research questions. The Word Inventory II will be a significant contribution to the field of second language acquistion research in that it will assess students’ knowledge of vocabulary that appears frequently in grade-level text. Current vocabulary measures assess how well students compare with each other, but do not generalize back to information that is meaningful for instructional purposes, notably how well students are likely to understand grade-level text and the types of words that will be challenging for them.
In the next year we will continue the development of Word Inventory II. Several forms of the assessment will be piloted at the beginning of Year 4. Findings from the pilot will be used to inform the development of the other grade-level forms of the test which will be administered in the winter of Year 4. Based on the data collected, the assessments will be revised and in the spring of Year 4 the subprojects will administer the Word Inventory II to students. We will plan to develop a measure of depth of word knowledge to be given in conjunction with the Word Inventory II and explore the feasiblity of developing an assessment of multword knowledge. Measures of teacher knowledge and classroom quality will also continue to be developed.
We will continue to maintain the cross-project database, populating it with data from the subprojects and making specific preparations for sharing data. We will also develop a written plan for analyzing the data to answer the cross-project research questions. Research Core staff will also continue to assist the subprojects as requested.
The following publication has been developed to report findings from the first 5 years of the grant:
- August, D., Kenyon, D., Malabonaga, V., Artegoitia, I., Paez, M., Howard., L., & Barr, C. (2010). The role of home, school, and oral language factors in children’s second language reading. Manuscript to be submitted to Journal of Reading and Writing.
The Database and Dataset Protocol is a manual for cross-project use that describes shared practices to ensure data integrity and maintain data.
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