Ed Week’s Corey Mitchell writes about a new study that shows integrating innovative science courses and English-language instruction can dramatically boost student achievement and test scores in the sciences, along with reading, and writing. This is according to a new study from the Oakland, Calif.-based Education Trust West.
The report, “Unlocking Learning: Science as a Lever for English Learner Equity,” explored how six districts, ranging from rural to urban and all with sizable English-learner populations, taught science to the students.
The curriculum in each district was aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards, a set of common science standards adopted by states that emphasize scientific inquiry along with engineering and design, and prioritize experimentation over memorization. The study notes that conducting experiments in teams forces ELL students to communicate, allowing them to practice their problem-solving and English-language skills at the same time. The researchers also noted that many key science vocabulary words are Spanish cognates, which means they’re accessible to Spanish-speakers who have a base of science knowledge in their native language.
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