In 2013, 4.4 million U.S. public school students were classified as English learners (ELs). These students come to school with the benefit of speaking a language other than English. All the while, they face the challenge of acquiring content knowledge in English at the same time as they acquire English as an additional language. They are held to the same graduation requirements and accountability standards as their English-proficient peers. English learners can be supported by conducting rigorous research and evaluation to improve instruction and learning, evaluating policy to inform decision-making, and enhancing EL practice at the district, school, and classroom level.
The core of AIR's work supporting ELs is done through the Center for English Learners.
Mastering math and the academic language of math is essential for all students, but especially for ELs, who are acquiring content knowledge and English proficiency concurrently. The goal of this five-year study was to enable sixth-grade Spanish-speaking ELs to acquire the skills and knowledge they need to meet the new Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M) and Literacy in the Technical Subjects (CCSS-L). During the first phase of the study an iterative development process was used to refine the intervention, leading to a pilot study in the final study year.
A practitioner manual, which displays and describes the instructional materials and methods used in MELD, is now available. The practitioner manual includes a description of the MELD materials and methods.
- Appendix A displays a MELD lesson consisting of digital teaching slides. Each digital teaching slide is accompanied by guidance for teachers and activities for students.
- Appendix B displays three lessons teachers can use to support students in engaging in academic conversations with classmates, and in using cognates knowledge and knowledge of prefixes and suffixes to uncover the meanings of unknown words.