Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Few Low-Performing Schools with Large Number of English Language Learner Students Seek ELL Teaching Expertise

Federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) support turnaround efforts in the nation’s lowest-performing schools, including many that serve a large number of English Language Learner Students (ELLs). This evaluation brief examines 11 high-ELL SIG schools’ efforts to improve teacher capacity for serving their ELLs.

Key findings include:
  • Few of the 11 schools used staffing strategies to improve teacher capacity for serving ELLs: 3 considered ELL expertise when hiring classroom teachers; 2 considered ELL expertise when assigning teachers to classrooms.
  • Most teachers participated in ELL-related professional development (PD) during the 2011–12 school year. On average, ELL-related PD accounted for less than 20 percent of their total PD hours.
  • Teachers who felt that their PD had a greater focus on ELL-related topics generally also felt that their PD more greatly improved their effectiveness as teachers of ELLs.
Findings are based on 2011–12 and 2012–13 site visits and teacher survey responses in 11 SIG schools that have high percentages of ELLs located in 9 districts and 4 states. These case study schools were part of a cohort that received SIG over a three-year period (school years 2010–11 to 2012–13).

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