Emerging solutions for implementing multi-tiered systems of support with Spanish-English bilinguals in early childhood education

Emerging solutions for implementing multi-tiered systems of support with Spanish-English bilinguals in early childhood education

First Author: Lillian Duran -- University of Oregon
Additional authors/chairs: 
Alisha Wackerle-Hollman; Trina Spencer; Maria Carlo; Sylvia Linan-Thompson
Abstract / Summary: 

Spanish-speaking children are a rapidly growing population in the US, however they experience ongoing inequity in long term reading outcomes (Garcia & Jensen, 2009). Early intervention is key to improving reading achievement and multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) focused on early identification and targeted intervention are increasingly common in early childhood settings (Greenwood, et al., 2011). Early education programs implementing MTSS need to be prepared for Spanish-speaking children and presenters will describe emerging evidence-based solutions. A new screening and progress monitoring assessment available in English and Spanish will be presented as well as growth trajectories in English and Spanish modeled over one academic year. An academic language intervention delivered in Spanish and English and curriculum development aimed at improving quality of instruction will also be described. A discussant with significant experience in designing MTSS systems for Spanish speakers will describe the utility of these new approaches as well as illuminate future research directions.

Symposium Papers: 

Innovations in progress monitoring Spanish-speaking preschooler’s Spanish language and early literacy development

First Author/Chair:Lillian Duran -- University of Oregon

This presentation will describe the development of the new Individual Growth and Development Indicators–Español (IGDIS-E) as a progress monitoring measure. The IGDIs-E includes measures of oral language, phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge. The IGIDs-E are the first measures available in Spanish that are sensitive to small increments of change over the course of a school year. The IGDIs-E can be administered once a month to document growth and to explore the effects of instruction on children’s language and early literacy development. Developed with over 400 Spanish-speaking 4 and 5-year old children in CA, OR, MN, KS, and UT the IGDIs-E developers employed a rasch measurement model to develop items sets with ranked ability levels that are have been shown to capture growth. Increasingly, researchers are incorporating children’s home language exposure and language of instruction into analyses to explain variance in performance on language measures (Cárdenas-Hagan, 2007; Collins, 2014). The performance of children with varying levels of Spanish proficiency and with differences in their home and classroom exposure to Spanish will be compared. The results of a differential item functioning analysis will also be presented to describe any differences found on specific items between children from families from Mexico versus other Spanish-speaking countries. The need to monitor the progress of children in Spanish will be discussed as well as approaches to interpreting the results of the IGDIs-E in the context of guiding instructional decision-making in Spanish.

The performance of Spanish-English bilingual preschoolers on the Spanish and English progress monitoring measures

First Author/Chair:Alisha Wackerle-Hollman -- University of Minnesota

Understanding Spanish-English dual language learner’s (SE-DLLs) performance in Spanish (L1) and English (L2) is an important contributor to tailoring instruction to meet their individual needs. Evidence indicates bilingual students have reduced rates of growth in L1 and L2 when considered separately, and it is not until L1 and L2 are considered together that DLLs vocabulary can be compared to that of monolinguals (Hammer et al., 2011). However, few studies of expected early language and literacy performance are available in the research literature. This study focuses on two research questions: what are the expected rates of growth for SE-DLLs on Spanish measures of early language and literacy? And what are the expected rates of growth for SE-DLLs on English measures of early language and literacy?
This study used the English and Spanish Individual Growth and Development Indicators (IGDIs-E and IGDIs 2.0; Wackerle-Hollman, Durán, & Rodriguez, 2015) to assess early literacy skills across three domains of early language and literacy: oral language, alphabet knowledge and phonological awareness. Data from 380 pre-kindergarten SE-DLLs (4-5 years old) will be used to produce hierarchical linear models during the 2017-2018 academic year, including 9 time points.
The results of this study will provide a new contribution to the research literature by modeling growth over the course of one academic year in three domains of early language and literacy and providing growth metrics in Spanish and English to comprehensively examine how each language grows as a function of pre-kindergarten instruction.

The Impact of Spanish-English Multi-Tiered Intervention to Promote Academic Language Skills of Preschoolers

First Author/Chair:Trina Spencer -- University of South Florida
Additional authors/chairs: 
Douglas B. Petersen; M. Adelaida Restrepo; Marilyn Thompson

Many young Spanish-speaking dual language learners enter school without sufficient academic language. Evidence suggests promotion of their home language enhances the acquisition of their second language. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of Spanish-English large and small group interventions on children’s listening comprehension, narrative retell skills, vocabulary acquisition, and syntax development in English and Spanish. In a randomized design, 81 Spanish-speaking dual language learners were assigned to treatment (N=43) and control (N=38) conditions. All preschoolers performed below the average range on English screening measures and were considered appropriate for Tier 2 intervention for academic language. Every week, participants in treatment classrooms received two large group narrative-based interventions that focused on vocabulary and storytelling in English. In addition, they received two small group Spanish interventions and two small group English interventions a week that more intensely addressed storytelling, vocabulary, and syntax. The tiered interventions, divided into three units, continued for approximately 36 weeks. Children’s narrative retell skills and their acquisition of targeted receptive vocabulary were assessed before and after each unit. Distal measures of listening comprehension, vocabulary, and syntax were assessed at pre-test and posttest. Repeated measures ANOVA results indicate that the treatment group outperformed the control group on most of the English measures (proximal and distal), but did not show statistically significant improvements in Spanish. These findings suggest that the multi-tiered interventions enhanced children’s English academic language; however a more potent Spanish intervention is warranted. Findings have implications for designing and organizing MTSS interventions for DLLs.

Iterative Development and Pilot Testing of Developing Talkers: A Tiered Academic English Language Curriculum for Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Dual-Language Learners

First Author/Chair:Maria Carlo -- University of South Florida
Additional authors/chairs: 
Tricia Zucker; Susan Landry; Jeffrey Williams; Vibhuti Bhavsar

Curricula are one of the most widely used educational inputs, yet few are developed and evaluated scientifically. Existing research suggests academic language skills are essential for developing skilled readers; however, minimal evidence exists to support curricula and approaches that target academic language (Foorman et al., 2016) especially among dual-language learners. This presentation will summarize the findings from a series of studies that used an iterative approach to the development of a tiered curriculum supplement that targets academic language skills in English for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students (Zucker, Carlo, Landry, Masood, Williams, & Bhavsar, in progress). Supports for dual-language learners, in the form of translation equivalents and cognates, use of images, Total Physical Response strategies, basic word instruction, among others; are seamlessly integrated into whole and small group instruction. Four studies were conducted to iteratively design the curriculum for large-scale use following Clements’ (2007) framework for research-based curriculum design. Results of the final randomized control pilot study showed strong intervention effects on taught vocabulary words (pre-k: d = 1.29; K: d = .84). Teachers had positive responses to the curriculum content and training, but they did not generalize use of all evidence-based practices during a transfer task (shared-book reading lesson). Implications for developing curriculum and professional development that use educative curricula approaches (Davis & Krajcikand, 2005) and that are designed to improve vocabulary instruction and inferential conversations within the classroom are discussed.


First Author/Chair:Sylvia Linan-Thompson Discussant -- University of Oregon