The study was implemented in 66 schools (33 treatment and 33 control)
across three school districts in one south-eastern US state. During the
2012–2013 school year, the project involved 258 teachers (123 treatment
and 135 control) and a total of 6,673 students. The trial evaluated
P-SELL, a science curricular and professional development intervention
for fifth-grade students with a focus on EALs.
The P-SELL curriculum’s approach aligns with state science standards
and high-stakes science assessments administered at fifth grade. It is
based on an inquiry-oriented approach and addresses the learning needs
of EALs by providing guidance and scaffolding for English language
development. Teachers are supported with a teacher’s guide and
professional development workshops. The workshops incorporated critical
features of effective professional development: content focus, active
learning, coherence, sufficient duration, and collective participation.
The study used both the high-stakes state science assessment as an
outcome measure and a researcher-developed science assessment that was
administered at the beginning and end of the year and allowed for a
pre-measure of science achievement. The study examined the effect of the
intervention on science achievement for all students and for students
of varying levels of English proficiency (EAL, recently reclassified
EAL, former EAL, and non-EAL).
The results found significant and meaningfully sized average
intervention effects on the researcher-developed science assessment
scores (effect size = +0.25) and the state science assessment scale
scores (+0.15). The P-SELL intervention had significant and meaningfully
sized effects for EALs (+0.35) on the researcher-developed assessment.
The intervention effects were positive but not statistically significant
for EALs (+0.12) on the state science assessment, although other
subcategories (non-EALs and former EALs) were positive and significant.
This is the first year of a three year study, and future years will
provide information on the long-term impact of the teachers’
Source: Impact of a Large-Scale Science Intervention Focused on English Language Learners (2016), American Educational Research Journal.