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English Learners in STEM Subjects TR ANSFORMING CL ASSROOMS, SCHOOLS, and LIVES David Francis and Amy Stephens, Editors Committee on Supporting English Learners in STEM Subjects Board on Science Education Board on Children, Youth, and Families Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education A Consensus Study Report of
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESSâ 500 Fifth Street, NWâ Washington, DC 20001 This activity was supported by a contract between the National Academy of Sci- ences and the National Science Foundation (#10003038). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13:â 978-0-309-47908-0 International Standard Book Number-10:â 0-309-47908-8 Digital Object Identifier:â https://doi.org/10.17226/25182 Library of Congress Control Number:â 2018964628 Additional copies of this publication are available for sale from the National Acad- emies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624- 6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2018 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2018). English Learners in STEM Subjects: Transforming Classrooms, Schools, and Lives. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi. org/10.17226/25182.
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institu- tion to advise the nation on issues related to science and Â echnology. Members t are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the char- ter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Â ciences to S advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, E Â ngineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Â edicine M at www.nationalacademies.org.
Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the studyâs statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typi- cally include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committeeâs deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task. Proceedings published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other event convened by the National Academies. The statements and opin- ions contained in proceedings are those of the participants and are not endorsed by other participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies. For information about other products and activities of the National Academies, please visit www.nationalacademies.org/about/whatwedo.
COMMITTEE ON SUPPORTING ENGLISH LEARNERS IN STEM SUBJECTS David J. Francis (Chair), Department of Psychology, University of Houston Alison Bailey, Department of Education, University of California, Los Angeles Hyman Bass, School of Education, University of Michigan Cory Buxton, College of Education, Oregon State University Kathryn Chval, College of Education, University of Missouri Marta Civil, Department of Mathematics, University of Arizona Christine M. Cunningham, Museum of Science, Boston Rodolfo Dirzo, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University* Leslie Herrenkohl, College of Education, University of Washington; School of Education, University of Michigan Megan Hopkins, Department of Education Studies, University of California, San Diego Okhee Lee, Department of Teaching and Learning, New York University Judit Moschkovich, Department of Education, University of California, Santa Cruz Kendra Renae Pullen, Caddo Parish Public Schools, LA Maria Santos, WestEd Mary Schleppegrell, School of Education, University of Michigan Guillermo Solano-Flores, Graduate School of Education, Stanford University Amy Stephens, Study Director Kenne Dibner, Program Officer Suzanne Le Menestrel, Senior Program Officer, Board on Children, Youth, and Families Margaret Kelly, Senior Program Assistant Tiffany Taylor, Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow (spring 2017), Research Associate Heidi Schweingruber, Director, Board on Science Education *Resigned from committee June 2017. v
BOARD ON SCIENCE EDUCATION Adam Gamoran (Chair), William T. Grant Foundation Megan Bang, School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University; Spencer Foundation Sunita V. Cooke, Office of the President, MiraCosta College Melanie Cooper, Department of Chemistry, Michigan State University Rush D. Holt, American Association for the Advancement of Science Matthew Krehbiel, Achieve, Inc. Lynn Liben, Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University Cathryn (Cathy) Manduca, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College John Mather, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Tonya M. Matthews, Michigan Science Center William Penuel, Center for Assessment, Design, Research and Evaluation, University of Colorado Boulder Stephen L. Pruitt, Southern Regional Education Board Kendra Renae Pullen, Caddo Parish Public Schools, LA Marshall âMikeâ Smith, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Roberta Tanner, Thompson School District (retired), Loveland, CO Heidi Schweingruber, Director vi
BOARD ON CHILDREN, YOUTH, AND FAMILIES Angela Diaz (Chair), Departments of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Shari Barkin, Department of Pediatrics, Monroe Carell Jr. Childrenâs Hospital, Vanderbilt University Thomas F. Boat, Academic Health Center, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati W. Thomas Boyce, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia David A. Brent, Western Psychiatric Institute and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine David V.B. Britt, Sesame Workshop (CEO, retired) Debbie I. Chang, Nemours Health and Prevention Services Patrick H. Deleon, F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Nursing, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Elena Fuentes-Afflick, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, and Chief of Pediatrics, San Francisco General Hospital Eugene E. Garcia, Mary Lou Fulton Teachersâ College, Arizona State University J. David Hawkins, School of Social Work, University of Washington Jeffrey W. Hutchinson, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Jacqueline Jones, Foundation for Child Development Ann S. Masten, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota Bruce S. McEwen, Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, The Rockefeller University Velma McBride Murry, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University Martin J. Sepulveda, Research Division, IBM Corporation (retired) Natacha Blain, Director vii
Preface E nglish learners (ELs) comprise a diverse and multitalented pool of learners that is persistently increasing, both in absolute size and as a percentage of the U.S. school population. ELs span more than 350 language groups, represent diversity in cultural groups, and reach the full range of social classes within U.S. society. Such diversity is at once a strength of the EL population and a complication to finding simple solutions to improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) outcomes for the group writ large. Long-held accounting practices in education and U.S. policy complicate the development of a clear picture of the educational attainment of ELs. Thus, high school graduation rates, college going, and career choices among ELs are misestimated in many offi- cial statistics and reports because of the failure to consider those English- proficient students who began school as ELs. These facts notwithstanding, ELs are underrepresented in STEM fields in college as well as in the workforce. These lower participation rates are made more troublesome by the ever-increasing demand for workers and professionals in STEM fields and by the disproportionate economic value that these jobs bring to society and, as a result, to the individuals employed in STEM fields. In general, jobs in STEM fields have higher earning poten- tial than non-STEM jobs, and the number of jobs in STEM have outpaced all other fields since 1990. Opening avenues to success in STEM for the nationâs ELs offers a path to improved earning potential, income security, and economic opportunity for these students and their families. At least as important, increasing the diversity of the STEM workforce confers benefits to the society as a whole, not only due to the improved economic circum- ix
x PREFACE stances for a substantial segment of society, but also because diversity in the STEM workforce will bring new ideas and new solutions to STEM challenges. Organizing schools and preparing teachers so that all students can reach their full potential in STEM has the potential to transform the lives of individual students, as well as the lives of the teachers, the schools, and society as a whole. In the report that follows, the committee attempts to determine what can be learned from the research literature to help guide improvements in the educational system, through improved assessments and assessment practices; reporting and classification; improved instruction that recognizes the central role that content area instruction plays in childrenâs language development and content area achievement; leveraging connections to home, culture, and school; better preparation of teachers and administra- tors; and the establishment of federal, state, and local policies that will build and sustain capacity of school systems to allow all ELs to reach their full potential as STEM learners. The report is essentially organized into three sections. The first set of chapters were provided by the committee in an effort to detail the essential background that readers must understand to benefit from the reviews of the literature in the subsequent chapters and the resultant conclusions and recommendations that follow from the committeeâs deliberations. The com- mittee found throughout its conversations that we shared a patchwork of common understanding about ELs as a population, about the schools and programs that serve these students, about the roles of standards in each of the STEM disciplines, and about the symbiotic central importance of lan- guage to the development of content area proficiency and of active engage- ment in content area learning to the development of language. I believe that it is fair to say that each of us had some understanding of portions of the overlapping patchwork, but none of us had as firm an understanding of the entire patchwork at the outset as we do today. Our objective in providing the early framing chapters was to detail, as best as possible, the essential background knowledge that guided our organization of the literature, and our thinking regarding the pieces and how they fit together. These chapters provide the givens that defined the starting point for the committee, and that we felt must be understood by the reader as the essential context for the chapters that detail our reviews, conclusions, and recommendations. Throughout its work, the committee kept its focus on the students, teachers, administrators, parents, families, communities, policy makers, and researchers, as well as the specific roles that each plays in the STEM attainment of ELs and the challenges that each faces in effectively fulfilling its role. Our perspective is very much an educational systems perspective, but our focus in individual chapters was necessarily on specific components of the system. I hope that this systems perspective comes through in the
PREFACE xi individual chapters albeit in a more limited scope. This perspective is criti- cal to real, substantial, and sustainable improvement. Focusing singularly on assessment, on instruction, on home-school connections, or on teacher preparation will not achieve what is possible through orchestrated, persis- tent, system-wide efforts. Coordinated effort is more difficult to achieve than concentrated effort by a single individual or type of individual, but ultimately more effective and more sustainable. I hope that each of the groups mentioned above finds specific, actionable steps that it can take to improve STEM outcomes for ELs. More importantly I hope that this report will motivate members of each of these groups to work together to create focused, system-wide effort toward the goal of allowing each child who enters a U.S. school as an EL to reach her or his full potential in STEM and proficiency in English. This report has been a labor of love for each of the committee mem- bers. To a person, the committee worked exceptionally hard to complete its work and produce this consensus report. Each individualâs commitment to working as a part of the team to develop a shared understanding of the students, the teachers, the homes and families, and the components of the educational system and what can be done to improve ELsâ STEM outcomes was remarkable. The committee was beyond fortunate to have Dr. Amy Stephens as the study director. Her steady hand, expert knowledge of the content and process, personal support of each of the committee members, and shear perseverance and hard work down the stretch made the impos- sible not only possible, but also enjoyable. I cannot thank her enough. In closing, I hope that readers will find much value in this consensus committee report of the National Academies and that individuals will be personally motivated to do their part in contributing to improved STEM education for ELs. While many questions remain unanswered by the cur- rent research literature, the report outlines what can be done now and what steps can be taken to guide future steps through research. David Francis, Chair Committee on Supporting English Learners in STEM Subjects
Acknowledgments T his Consensus Study Report represents the work of many individu- als, especially those who served on the committee and participated in the committeeâs open sessions. The first thanks are to the committee members for their deep knowledge and contributions to the study. This report was made possible by the important contributions of the National Science Foundation. We particularly thank Julio Lopez-Ferrao, program director in the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (EHR/DRL), who advocated for this study. The committee benefited from presentations by, and discussions with, the many individuals who participated in our fact-finding meetings. We thank Julie Bianchini, University of California, Santa Barbara; Rebecca Callahan, The University of Texas at Austin; Sylvia CeledÃ³n-Pattichis, University of New Mexico; Daryl Greenfield, University of Miami; Tom Humphries, University of California, San Diego; Kara Jackson, Univer- sity of Washington; Bill McCallum, University of Arizona; Kylie Peppler, Indiana University, Bloomington; Nancy Songer, Drexel University; Julie Sugarman, Migration Policy Institute; Ruby Takanishi, New America; Karen Thompson, Oregon State University; Sara Tolbert, University of Arizona; Sultan Turkan, Educational Testing Service; Claudio Vargas, coor- dinator of science programs Kâ12 in Californiaâs Oakland Unified School District; Mark Warschauer, University of California, Irvine; and Amelia Wenk Gotwals, Michigan State University. This Consensus Study Report has been reviewed in draft form by indi- viduals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical com- xiii
xiv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and respon- siveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Diane L. August, Center for English Language Learners, American Institutes for Research; Filiberto Barajas-LÃ³pez, Mathematics Education, University of Washington; George C. Bunch, Education Department, University of Cali- fornia, Santa Cruz; Ester de Jong, School of Teaching and Learning, Univer- sity of Florida; Richard P. Duran, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Santa Barbara; Kara Jackson, College of Education, Univer- sity of Washington; Robert Linquanti, California Comprehensive Center, WestEd; Luciana C. Oliveira, Department of Teaching and Learning, Uni- versity of Miami; Maria Chiara Simani, California Science Project, Depart- ment of Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Riverside; and Karen Thompson, College of Education, Oregon State University. Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive com- ments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Donna Christian, senior fellow, Cen- ter for Applied Linguistics and Douglas S. Massey, Department of Sociol- ogy, Princeton University. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies. Thanks are also due to the project staff: Amy Stephens of the Board on Science Education (BOSE) directed the study. Tiffany Taylor helped with drafting and editing parts of the report (transitioning from a Christine Mirzayan science and technology policy fellow to a research associate dur- ing this project). Kenne Dibner, program officer with BOSE, and Suzanne Le Menestrel, senior program officer with the Board on Children, Youth, and Families, were instrumental in thinking through committee dynamics during meetings and about engaging key stakeholder groups. Margaret Kelly managed the studyâs logistical and administrative needs, and Leticia Garcilazo Green stepped in at the end to help with study completion. Heidi Schweingruber, director of BOSE, provided thoughtful advice and helpful suggestions throughout the entire process. Staff of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education also provided help: Paula Whitacre edited and substantially improved the readability of the report; Kirsten Sampson Snyder expertly guided the report through the review process, and Yvonne Wise masterfully guided the report through production.
Dedication W e dedicate this book to the memory of Julio LÃ³pez-Ferrao, program director in the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (EHR/DRL) at the National Science Foundation (NSF), who died on March 25, 2019. Julio served as the NSF program officer overseeing our work on this report. Julio was a warrior for equity. He was passionate about education, especially for children and adults who had been denied access and oppor- tunity to learning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. An advocate for people who were learning English in the United States, he real- ized their incredible potential not only to learn but also to fully participate and bring their rich cultural and linguistic assets into the community. Julio wanted every child and adult to have opportunities to be successful. This project would not have become a reality without his leadership. He leaves a lasting legacy that will impact generations to come. xv
Contents Summary 1 1 Introduction 9 Evolution of Research on Language and STEM Learning, 11 Charge to the Committee, 14 Study Approach, 16 An Asset-Oriented View of English Learners, 21 Report Organization, 22 References, 23 2 Factors Shaping English Learnersâ Access to STEM Education in U.S. Schools 27 Heterogeneity of English Learners, 28 Program Models for English Learners, 34 English Learner Classification Status and STEM Access, 39 Factors and Challenges Associated with âAchievement Gapâ Metrics, 41 English Learner Placement in STEM Coursework, 44 Summary, 47 References, 47 3 Relationship Between Language and STEM Learning for English Learners 55 The Role of Language and Culture in STEM Learning, 55 Language as Meaning-Making, 58 xvii
xviii CONTENTS Current Context of STEM PreKâ12 Education for English Learners, 63 New Opportunities for EL STEM Learning, 78 Summary, 80 References, 81 4 Effective Instructional Strategies for STEM Learning and Language Development in English Learners 89 Classroom Culture, 90 Interactions Between STEM Content Teachers and ESL Teachers, 96 Promising Instructional Strategies to Support STEM Content and Language Development, 97 Curriculum, 125 Summary, 128 References, 129 5 School-Family-Community: Contextual Influences on STEM Learning for English Learners 143 The Positioning of English Learnersâ Cultures in STEM, 144 Caregiver and Family Involvement in Schools, 146 Supporting Teachers in Working with Families and Communities, 149 Building Stronger Connections for Mutual Understanding, 155 Summary, 157 References, 158 6 Preparing the Educator Workforce for English Learners in STEM 165 Preservice Teacher Preparation, 166 In-Service Teacher Professional Development, 173 Cross-Cutting Themes for Supporting Teachers of STEM to ELs, 180 Preparation of Teacher Educators, 193 Summary, 196 References, 197 7 Assessing STEM Learning among English Learners 207 English Learners in Large-Scale STEM Assessment Programs, 209 Classroom Summative and Formative STEM Assessment with English Learners, 220 Summary, 239 References, 240
CONTENTS xix 8 Building Capacity to Transform Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Learning for English Learners 251 Federal and State Policy Considerations, 252 Capacity Building at the District and School Level, 260 Summary, 285 References, 286 9 Conclusions, Recommendations, and Research Agenda 293 Conclusions, 293 Recommendations, 306 Research Agenda, 310 References, 313 Appendixâ Committee and Staff Biographies 315