School & District Management

ELL Research Agenda to Be Planned by the National Academies

By Mary Ann Zehr — April 04, 2011 1 min read

Bigwigs in the field of research and federal policy for English-language learners are meeting today in the nation’s capital to review the current state of ELL research and plan what research questions are most crucial to answer for the education of such students.

The meeting was organized by the National Academies. The Board on Children, Youth, and Families, which was formed in 1993 by both the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, is officially hosting it. A source sent me a copy of the agenda, but members of the press are not invited to the meeting, so what you read in this blog post is likely all you’ll hear from me about the gathering.

Scheduled to give opening remarks to represent the U.S. Department of Education are Rosalinda Barrera, the director of the office of English-language acquisition, and Ricardo Soto, the deputy assistant secretary for the office for civil rights. Catherine Snow, a professor of education at Harvard University, is moderating the meeting.

I recognize the names of several of the ELL experts expected to be panelists. For example, Charlene Rivera, the director of George Washington University’s Center for Equity and Excellence in Education, is set to present about the strengths and weaknesses of data sources on ELLs. David J. Francis, who directs the National Research and Development Center for English-Language Learners out of the University of Houston, and Nonie Lesaux, an associate professor in human development and urban education advancement at Harvard University, are expected to talk about how research on ELLs can be translated into classroom instruction and assessment.

Both Francis and Lesaux have been conducting some interesting research on the teaching of vocabulary.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.