SEDL's Texas Comprehensive Center Hosts Research Summit on Accommodations for English Language Learners

April 14, 2009
Austin, Texas

Contact:
Laura Shankland
Communications Associate
Phone: 512-391-6556
Email: laura.shankland@sedl.org

SEDL’s Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC) recently held a 2-day research summit titled “Making Consistent Decisions about Accommodations for English Language Learners” (ELLs). The summit was the second phase in a federally funded project to assist the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in meeting the needs of ELLs. In the first phase of the project, the TEA held 14 focus groups across Texas where participants discussed how districts and schools are currently making decisions regarding ELL accommodations and assessments.

The research summit’s purpose was to review the findings from the focus groups, learn from the research of experts in the field, and stimulate dialogue among researchers and expert practitioners regarding how best to help educators select and implement ELL accommodations. Dr. David Francis, director of the Center on Instruction’s ELL strand, presented findings from his research and served as the discussant for presentations by other national experts. In addition, TEA leaders gave a presentation on the current state guidelines regarding ELL accommodations and on the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS), which are integrated in all content areas and at all grade levels in Texas. Summit participants then broke into small groups to discuss the barriers to consistent implementation of state ELL guidelines. To see the agenda and list of presenters for the summit, go to the TXCC Research Summit Web page.

SEDL program director Dr. Vicki Dimock said, “This summit presented an opportunity for an in-depth dialogue among researchers, policy makers, and practitioners as a means for bringing evidence to bear on practice, which has long been a focus of SEDL’s work.”

As a next step, the TXCC will be creating a proceedings document to capture the essential learning from the research summit. TXCC staff, working in cooperation with the Center on Instruction and the TEA, will then use the information to create an online professional development module to build state educators’ capacity to make consistent, data-based decisions regarding the use of ELL accommodations in instruction and state assessments.

In the final phase of the ELL project, TXCC staff will help the TEA develop a plan to provide continued support for systematic decision making and the implementation of ELL accommodations across the state. Part of this support will involve creating a process for collecting and analyzing data of the ELL accommodations requested for state assessments and the impact of those accommodations.


About the ELL Project
In 2008, the U. S. Department of Education awarded $306,113 to SEDL’s Texas Comprehensive Center to assist the TEA in meeting the needs of ELLs. The goal of the collaborative project is to help the TEA build the capacity of local education agencies to understand and implement state guidelines regarding ELL accommodations on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). Consistent implementation of guidelines is necessary to ensure that uniform decisions are made regarding state assessments for limited English proficient students.
 
About the TXCC
SEDL’s Texas Comprehensive Center provides technical assistance and support to the TEA to ensure that Texas has an education system with the capacity and commitment to eliminate achievement gaps and to enable all students to achieve at high levels. For more information about the Texas Comprehensive Center, visit txcc.sedl.org.

About SEDL

SEDL (formerly Southwest Educational Development Laboratory) is a nonprofit corporation based in Austin, Texas. SEDL is dedicated to solving significant education problems and improving teaching and learning through research, research-based resources, and professional development. For more information about SEDL, visit http://www.sedl.org/about/.