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Open Access Publications from the University of California

CREDE is a federally funded research and development program focused on improving the education of students whose ability to reach their potential is challenged by language or cultural barriers, race, geographic location, or poverty. More than 30 CREDE-funded research projects around the country have gathered data and tested curriculum models in wide-ranging settings and with diverse student populations-from classrooms with predominantly Zuni-speaking students in New Mexico to inner city schools in Florida to California elementary schools with large populations of native Spanish-speaking students. The findings from these projects are available here and on the CREDE web site.

Cover page of Educating Hispanic Students: Effective Instructional Practices

Educating Hispanic Students: Effective Instructional Practices


Effective instructional practices are crucial to addressing the educational crisis facing many Hispanic students in the United States. The number of Hispanic students attending public schools has increased dramatically in recent decades, yet Hispanic students as a group have the lowest levels of education and the highest dropout rate of any student group. Conditions of poverty and health, as well as other social problems have made it difficult for some Hispanics living in the U.S. to improve their educational status. Cultural and historical practices have also placed numbers of Hispanic children at risk for educational failure. Research-based instructional practices are thus vital to improving the academic success of Hispanic students. CREDE researchers have synthesized the research on strategies that have been significant in advancing the achievement of these students. This brief presents these identified teaching practices, which can be applied in any classroom and are beneficial for all students, as well.

Cover page of Nongraded Primary Programs: Possibilities for Improving Practice for Teachers

Nongraded Primary Programs: Possibilities for Improving Practice for Teachers


"During writing workshop one morning in Sara and Patty's team-taught, nongraded, multi-age, primary classroom, Shawna (age 8) and Jackie (age 6), sit together at a table. Jackie keeps a constant eye on Shawna as she writes. Looking at Shawna's long story, Jackie says, "I can't write good." Shawna looks up and says, "It takes time. I used to be able to write just a little, but now I am older and can write real good. Just keep trying and you will be a good writer, too." Jackie scrunches her face and begins writing again."

In nongraded, multi-age classrooms, children have the opportunity to learn a great deal from their more proficient classmates. In the instance above, Jackie not only witnessed what better writers do but she also learned that she, too, may write that way one day. Children in multi-age, nongraded programs often learn that children differ, and they learn to assist each other in productive ways. The organizational scheme has the potential to remove much of the competition of traditionally graded class-rooms and, for many children, the stigma of being "behind."

Cover page of Some Program Alternatives for English Language Learners

Some Program Alternatives for English Language Learners


With the increasing number of linguistically and culturally diverse students in K-12 classrooms, it is imperative that practitioners determine educational approaches that best serve these students. English language learners (ELLs) in particular face the dual challenge of mastering English and acquiring the academic skills and knowledge deemed essential for a sound and productive education. Researchers at CREDE have studied four programs that meet the diverse and complex needs of ELLs: (1) newcomer programs, (2) transitional bilingual education, (3) developmental bilingual education, and (4) two-way immersion. This brief will summarize these programs by highlighting specific features and conditions that will help practitioners determine which programs meet their needs, fulfill their goals, and match their resources.

When starting a new program or assessing the effectiveness of an existing one, it is important to consider common characteristics of all programs. Successful programs maintain ongoing and guided parental involvement and professional development for specialized and mainstream teachers. They promote proficiency in both first and second languages for academic purposes, and they use assessment methods linked to instructional objectives to inform instructional planning and delivery. Effective programs also encompass developmentally appropriate curriculum and high standards for language acquisition and academic achievement, as well as strong leadership among classroom, school, and district personnel. All programs implement sheltered instruction (SI), an approach that integrates language and content instruction. SI serves as a means for making grade-level academic content more accessible to ELLs while at the same time promoting their English language development. Academic subjects are taught using English as the medium of instruction. SI highlights key language features and incorporates special strategies to make the content meaningful and comprehensible to ELLs. In some cases, SI is used as a program option for educating ELLs. When looking at the unique characteristics of the following alternatives, educators should remember that there is no one best program. Rather, these different approaches are all successful if implemented well.

Cover page of Development and Maintenance of Two-Way Immersion Programs: Advice from Practitioners

Development and Maintenance of Two-Way Immersion Programs: Advice from Practitioners


As an effective and increasingly popular educational approach, two-way immersion (TWI) programs have grown remarkably in the past 15 years. CREDE's "Two-Way Immersion" project, conducted at the Center for Applied Linguistics, has kept track of TWI growth and determined effective program implementation practices. Information on TWI programs is published online in the Directory of Two-Way Bilingual Immersion Programs in the United States (2000) at

The Directory provides detailed program and demographic information for 250+ programs that a) provide content and literacy in English and a minority language, b) integrate students from the two language groups for at least half of the school day, and c) have a roughly equal balance of language majority and language minority students. To collect this information, CREDE researchers sent out questionnaires to the primary contacts for these TWI programs (principals, bilingual coordinators, or teachers), which included open-ended issues, such as:

1. What are the most important factors in the success of your program? 2. What challenges have you faced while establishing your program? How have you dealt with them? 3. What advice can you offer new two-way programs that are starting up?

This brief will summarize the responses given to these questions and provide recommendations supported by CREDE's research and technical assistance.

Cover page of Family Visits Benefit Teachers and Families —and Students Most of All

Family Visits Benefit Teachers and Families —and Students Most of All


This teacher and parent are sharing their insights about the value of family visits as a way to open communication and work more closely together to support student learning. There is a great deal of national conversation about the need for children and older youth to feel connected to adults who care. In today's large bureaucratic schools, teachers often find it impossible to meet the demands of their classes and know their students as individuals with specific needs and gifts. Families have become increasingly busy, and they often reflect structures different from the traditional two-parent, two-children prototype. New media and technologies emerge almost daily, affecting family time and communication in ways we had not imagined even 20 years ago. These societal changes can be viewed as positive and progressive. Most schools, however, have continued to operate in traditional ways by delivering instruction that has little to do with students' present or future lives. Thus, the disparity between home and school continues to widen.

Creative minds are beginning to tackle this issue in different ways, and this brief offers one: connecting meaningfully to students' families. Schooling in the 21 st century must be different than in recent decades. Teachers must see their work as educating the whole student, rather than as merely delivering facts. To educate effectively, teachers must reach out to students' families in ways not traditionally imagined and help bridge the ever-widening gap between home and school, so that students realize they are known, cared about, and expected to achieve.

Researchers at CREDE have been studying the academic and social development of rural and urban children of Appala-chian descent in Kentucky in the context of the curriculum and instruction they receive at school and at home. Teachers participating in this project, "Appalachian Children's Academic and Social Development at Home and in Nongraded Primary Schools: Model Programs for Children of Poverty," have visited with their students' families on a regular basis, and have discovered the power and benefits of such visits, including the development of caring connections between students and adults. All the families visited have been positive about the experience as well. As students' first teachers, parents and families have much knowledge to share with classroom teachers. When parents are respected as experts about their children, they tend to share willingly. Teachers who arrange for several family visits over the course of a school year can learn a great deal about their students, the students' families, and the communities. They can use this knowledge to inform teaching and build a connected and caring classroom community.