To improve content area achievement outcomes for English language learners (ELLs) in middle schools, a team of researchers from across the country proposed a focused program of research that would develop and rigorously test interventions that focus on teachers’ instructional practices, peer-assisted learning, vocabulary development, and the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol. This special issue of Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness reports some of the findings from this focused program of research. This introduction to the special issue provides context for the studies and lessons learned from the development and testing of these interventions. The authors consider the challenges that researchers face in conducting applied research in educational settings with ELLs, including the dynamic and developmental nature of their status, the heterogeneity of the population, the heterogeneity of school contexts, and statistical issues involved in estimating the effects of interventions for ELLs and non-ELLs in the same classrooms.
Francis, D. J., & Vaughn, S. (2009). Effective practices for English language learners in the middle grades: Introduction to the special issue. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 2(4), 289–296.