Teacher Preparation

What Works Clearinghouse Sheds No Light on Effectiveness of SIOP

By Mary Ann Zehr — June 17, 2009 1 min read

I’m not surprised by the following bit of news from the What Works Clearinghouse of the U.S. Department of Education, which has been dubbed the “Nothing Works” Clearinghouse.

The clearinghouse has taken a look at studies of the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, or SIOP, a framework for teaching English-language learners content and English at the same time, to determine the effectiveness of the approach. It found that none of the eight studies meets the “evidence standards” of the clearinghouse and thus no conclusions can be drawn about the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of SIOP.

I just wrote on this blog about how it appears SIOP, a set of strategies that mainstream teachers can use to reach ELLs in their classrooms, is sweeping the country.

The 2008 annual report of the Center for Applied Linguistics says that the center provided professional-development services in SIOP to a dozen different school districts and other individual schools or education entities in 2008. Among them were public school systems in Austin, Texas; Beaufort County, S.C.; Chapel Hill-Carrboro City schools in North Carolina; East Baton Rouge, La.; and Loudoun County, Va.

Of the 33 reviews of learning interventions for ELLs that the clearinghouse has conducted, 14 bear the label “no studies meeting evidence standards” or “no studies meeting eligibility screens.”

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