Closing the achievement gap for English Language Learners

Integrating STEM Literacy and Language to Prepare All Teachers to Teach ELL: iTeachELLs

Principal investigator:
Award amount:
$10,532,220
Originating sponsor:
U.S. Department of Education
Grant start date:
October 1, 2014
Grant end date:
September 30, 2019

The challenge:

How can Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College help close the achievement gap for students who are English Language Learners — students whose primary language is not English?

Between 1994 and 2010, the number of ELL students in the U.S. increased by 63 percent, according to the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition. In Arizona, fourth grade test results show only 5 percent of ELL students are proficient in math; 1 percent are proficient in reading; and 2 percent are proficient in science. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, no ELL students scored at an advanced level in any of those subjects in 2015. Statistics reported here are the most recent available. 

The approach:

The project team is implementing reforms in pre-K and K-8 teacher certification programs so graduates will be measurably more successful at understanding and implementing strategies to teach math and science to ELL students. They are designing methods courses in math and science to include materials and instructional strategies promoting language development and literacy skills. The team is using problem-based learning pedagogy and design principles to establish knowledge and skills that teacher candidates can apply to “real world” classrooms. 

Findings and impact:

Not yet available; project in progress. However, the team has developed a summer camp for educators to shape and redefine how one of the most underserved populations in the nation learns. Find out more about the summer camp including activities and trips included.