Campus News

Faculty receive NSF grant to help improve science education for English language learners, families

UGA education researchers have received a $515,756 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a model for improving science teaching and learning for middle school English language learners.

Cory Buxton and Martha Allexsaht-Snider, associate professors in the College of Education’s department of elementary and social studies education, and Allan Cohen, director of the Georgia Center for Assessment, are collaborating on the three-year project to work with teachers, English language learners and their families from Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School in Clarke County and East Hall and West Hall middle schools in Hall County to improve student achievement.

Between 1992 and 2002, the ELL student population in Georgia rose more than 350 percent. The three middle schools chosen for the project are representative of the changing demographics in the state.

Teachers, students and parents will work together to develop and improve their science inquiry practices, their use of academic language in and beyond science class and their understanding of the role that success in science can play in broader academic success. The researchers will develop and test instruments for measuring the implementation and effectiveness of this model.

“We are using a co-teaching model, often used with special education students, that has an English-as-a-second-language teacher collaborating with a content-area teacher,” said Buxton.

The researchers will conduct workshops for teachers, as well as workshops for families in which the teachers learn alongside their students and their students’ parents.