Summary Report: Similar English Learner Students, Different Results:
This 16-page report summarizes a research analysis examining which instructional practices had a positive relationship with the achievement of low-income, English learner students as measured by the English Learner Academic Performance Index (EL-API) and other achievement tests. The report also provides additional information to help make sense of the findings.
Based on a research study that surveyed teachers and principals in 237 California elementary schools, four broad, interrelated school practices proved significant when looking through the lens of California’s EL–API:
Use of assessments and data to inform efforts to improve student achievement;
Sufficient resources, in particular adequate and appropriate textbooks for every student, well-maintained facilities, and the principal’s perception that the school’s teaching staff has strong teaching skills, academic content knowledge, enthusiasm about teaching, and the ability to raise student achievement;
Coherent curriculum and instruction that is aligned with state standards; and
Prioritizing of student achievement by both principals and teachers.
The study also analyzed a small subset of questions about specific EL instructional practices and teacher qualifications. Although not a comprehensive look, the results raise some intriguing questions about what matters most when it comes to improving the achievement of English learners. Some of the findings support oft cited recommendations for EL instruction, and some don’t.
EdSource thanks the S.H.Cowell Foundation for its support of this study and summary report.