The Center for ELLs at AIR

Editor’s note: In this piece, Dr. Rebecca Bergey (EdD Researcher, Center for ELLs at AIR), 2016 TIRF DDG awardee, shares information with TIRF newsletter readers about the Center for ELLs at AIR.

The Center for English Language Learners at American Institutes for Research (AIR) is committed to reducing the achievement gap and improving outcomes for English language learners (ELLs) by conducting rigorous research and connecting research to policy and practice. Our ELL team is led by Diane August, Ph.D., Patricia Garcia-Arena Ph.D., Jennifer O’Day, Ph.D., and Lisa Tabaku, all of whom have deep expertise about ELL education. They are supported by skilled AIR team members who have worked with schools, districts, universities, nonprofits, and government agencies to improve outcomes for ELLs. Our work spans from research to policy to technical support for school districts and educators.

Conducting Rigorous Research: AIR contributes to the research base about what works for ELLs by conducting studies focused on teaching and learning. Our team also evaluates federal, state, and district policies and programming that affect ELLs and crafts evidence-based recommendations related to these policies and programs. Some examples of recent research include a multi-site randomized control trial of the reading intervention program, Descubriendo la Lectura, and a three-year development study to create and pilot ELL supports for a middle school math curriculum. This program is called Project Math and English Language Development for English Language Learners (Project MELD).

Connecting Research to Practice: ELL specialists at AIR provide valuable technical assistance and professional development to help states and districts improve instruction and learning for ELLs. We tailor our services to meet the specific needs of our clients. We offer curriculum and training for early language and literacy with Cultivating Oral Language and Literacy Talent in Students (COLLTS). We also offer curriculum and training using the Attaining Core Content for English Language Learners (ACCELL) model, which includes methods, resources, and tools to help teachers across the subject areas scaffold core content for ELLs.

Analyzing Policy and Related Work for English Language Learners: AIR recently reviewed the approved Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility plans, in order to identify policies and practices relevant to ELLs. We provided considerations based on our knowledge of research for the implementation of proposed reforms and described exemplary state and district practices.

For more information about the work that we do or to subscribe to our quarterly newsletter, please contact ELLCenter@air.org.