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The IERI Research Community :: Projects

Instructional Intervention to Promote Science and Literacy with Linguistically Diverse Elementary Students

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR:
Okhee Lee

CATEGORIES:
Math, Reading, Science

PROJECT OVERVIEW:
Background: While the student population has become increasingly diverse, the science achievement gaps between mainstream and non-mainstream students have persisted. One of the challenges facing teachers is how to enable English language learners to learn academic knowledge across subject areas while also acquiring English proficiency.

Purpose: The research implemented an instructional intervention aimed at promoting both science and English literacy achievement among linguistically diverse elementary students. The intervention integrated three domains: (a) inquiry-based science, (b) English language and literacy, and (c) students home language and culture.

Intervention: Teachers were provided with professional development opportunities via project-developed curriculum units for teachers and students and teacher workshops. The goal was to improve teachers classroom practices and foster positive beliefs about science and English literacy with diverse student groups. Then, teachers applied their knowledge to promote science and English literacy achievement with their students.

Setting: The intervention was implemented with third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers and their students at elementary schools representing diverse languages and cultures in Miami, Florida (2000-2004), San Francisco, California (2000-2004), and Phoenix, Arizona (2002-2004).

Research Design: The research involved all third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers and their students at six elementary schools in Miami, third and fourth grade teachers and their students at three elementary schools in San Francisco, and third and fourth grade teachers and their students at six elementary schools in Phoenix. The participating schools varied with regard to students ethnic, linguistic, and SES backgrounds, among other factors.

Data collection involves multiple sources across the participating teachers and students. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to analyze the data with teachers and students at the end of each year and over the period of three years.

Findings: Although there were degrees of effectiveness among the teachers, consistent patterns were observed in each of the three domains of the intervention (inquiry-based science, English language and literacy, and students home language and culture). Significance tests of classroom observation ratings and teacher questionnaire responses between the first and second year indicated overall no statistically significant differences and small or less than small effect magnitudes (according to Cohen s d), with a few exceptions of statistically positive changes. In contrast, focus group interview responses indicated more nuanced changes in teachers reported practices and their beliefs.

This research also examined the impact of the three-year implementation of an instructional intervention to promote science and English literacy achievement. Significance tests of mean scores between pre- and posttests each year indicated statistically significant increases on all measures of science and literacy at all three grade levels across all three years. Achievement gaps tended to narrow among fourth grade students and tended to remain consistent among third and fifth grade students. The results based on item-by-item comparisons with national (NAEP) and international (TIMSS) samples of students indicated overall positive science performance of students who participated in the research at the end of each school year. Furthermore, the results of performance assessment with a small number of selected students indicated that the intervention enhanced their inquiry ability regardless of grade, achievement, gender, ethnicity, SES, home language, and English proficiency. Particularly, low achieving, low SES, and ESOL exited students made impressive gains.

PROJECT PUBLICATIONS:
Refereed Journal Articles
Cuevas, P., Lee, O., Hart, J., & Deaktor, R. (2005). Improving science inquiry with elementary students of diverse backgrounds. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 42(3), 337-357.

Cuevas, P., Shaver, A., & Lee, O. (under review). Elementary school teachers beliefs regarding hands-on science instruction.

Hart, J., & Lee, O. (2003). Teacher professional development to improve science and literacy achievement of English language learners. Bilingual Research Journal, 27(3), 475-501.

Lambert, J., Lester, B., Lee, O., & Luykx, A. (under review). Changing teachers beliefs about science and student diversity through an inquiry-based earth systems curricular and professional development intervention.

Lee, O. (2001). Culture and language in science education: What do we know and what do we need to know? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(5), 499-501.

Lee, O. (2002). Science inquiry for elementary students from diverse backgrounds. In W. G. Secada (Ed.), Review of Research in Education, Vol. 26 (pp. 23-69). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.

Lee, O. (2003). Equity for culturally and linguistically diverse students in science education: A research agenda. Teachers College Record, 105(3), 465-489.

Lee, O. (2004). Teacher change in beliefs and practices in science and literacy instruction with English language learners. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41(1), 65-93.

Lee, O. (2005). Science education and English language learners: Synthesis and Research Agenda. Review of Educational Research, 75(4), 491-530.

Lee, O. (2005). Science education and student diversity: Summary of synthesis and research agenda. Journal of Education for Students Placed At Risk, 10(4), 431-440.

Lee, O., & Avalos, M. (2002). Promoting science instruction and assessment for English language learners. The Electronic Journal of Science Education, 7(2).

Lee, O., Buxton, C., Lewis, S., & LeRoy, K. (in press). Science inquiry and student diversity: Enhanced abilities and continuing difficulties after an instructional intervention. Journal of Research in Science Teaching.

Lee, O., Deaktor, R. A., Hart, J. E., Cuevas, P., & Enders, C. (2005). An instructional intervention s impact on the science and literacy achievement of culturally and linguistically diverse elementary students. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 42(8), 857-887.

Lee, O., Hart, J., Cuevas, P., & Enders, C. (2004). Professional development in inquiry-based science for elementary teachers of diverse student groups. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41(10), 1021-1043.

Lee, O., Lester, B., Li, M., Lambert, J., & Jean-Baptiste, M. (in press). Conceptions of the increased greenhouse effect and global warming among elementary students from diverse languages and cultures. Journal of Geoscience.

Lee, O., & Luykx, A. (2005). Dilemmas in scaling up innovations in science instruction with nonmainstream elementary students. American Educational Research Journal, 42(5), 411-438.

Lee, O., Luykx, A., Buxton, C., & Shaver, A. (under review). Elementary school teachers beliefs and practices regarding linguistic and cultural diversity in science education.

Lester, B. T., Ma, L., Lee, O., & Lambert, J. (2006). Social activism in elementary science education: An STS approach in teaching global warming. International Journal of Science Education, 28(4), 315-339.

Lester, B., Mahotiere, M., Luykx, A., & Lambert, J. (in press). Making the connection in culturally congruent science teaching. TESOL Sunshine State Journal.

Luykx, A., & Lee, O. (in press). Measuring instructional congruence in elementary science classrooms: Pedagogical and methodological components of a theoretical framework. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44(3).

Luykx, A., Lee, O., & Edwards, U. (in press). Lost in translation: Negotiating meaning in a beginning ESOL science classroom. Educational Policy.

Luykx, A., Lee, O., Mahotiere, M., Lester, B., Hart, J., & Deaktor, R. (in press). Cultural and home language influence in elementary students constructed responses on science assessments. Teachers College Record.

Shaver, A., Cuevas, P., Lee, O., & Avalos, M. (in press). Teachers perceptions of policy influences on science instruction with culturally and linguistically diverse elementary students. Journal of Research in Science Teaching.

Book Chapters and Invited Articles
Colucci, M., Ceballos, M., Smith, M., & Lee, O. (2006). Wind cycle. In A. K. Fathman & D. T. Crowther (Eds.), Science for English language learners: K-12 classroom strategies (pp. 127-129). Arlington, VA: National Science Teachers Association.

Garc a, E. E., & Lee, O. (in press). Science instruction for all: Creating a responsive learning community. In A. S. Rosebery, & B. Warren (Eds.), Teaching science to English language learners. Washington, DC: The National Science Foundation.

Lee, O. (in press). Implementation and evaluation of scale-up. In B. Schneider & S. McDonald (Eds.), Scale up in education, vol. 2: practice. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Lee, O., & Avalos, M. (2003). Integrating science with English language development. Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) Letter. XV, 1, 21-28.

Lee, O., & Luykx, A. (2003). Ecological education for students from non-mainstream backgrounds in the climate of accountability. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 1(7), 384-385.

Lee, O., & Luykx, A. (in press). Science education and student diversity: Race/ethnicity, language, culture, and socioeconomic status. In S. K. Abell & N. G. Lederman (Eds.), Handbook of research in science education. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Luykx, A., Cuevas, P., Lambert, J., & Lee, O. (2005). Unpacking teachers resistance to integrating students language and culture into elementary science instruction. In A. Rodr guez & R. S. Kitchen (Eds.), Preparing prospective mathematics and science teachers to teach for diversity: Promising strategies for transformative action (pp. 119-141). Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum & Associates.

Curriculum Development
Lambert, J. (2002). The living planet: Promoting science inquiry for linguistically diverse students (Student book and teachers guide). Coral Gables, FL: University of Miami.

Lee, O., & Associates. (2001). Measurement: Promoting science inquiry for linguistically diverse students (Student book and teachers guide). Coral Gables, FL: University of Miami.

Lee, O., & Associates. (2001). Matter: Promoting science inquiry for linguistically diverse students (Student book and teachers guide). Coral Gables, FL: University of Miami.

Lee, O., & Associates. (2001). The water cycle: Promoting science inquiry for linguistically diverse students (Student book and teachers guide). Coral Gables, FL: University of Miami.

Lee, O., & Associates. (2001). Weather: Promoting science inquiry for linguistically diverse students (Student book and teachers guide). Coral Gables, FL: University of Miami.

ON THE WEB:
You can learn more about this project online at http://www.education.miami.edu/sfa.