Skip to main content
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 Activity Setting Observation System Rule Book

Activity Setting Observation System Rule Book


The full-length rule-book for the Activity Setting Observation System (ASOS), a quantitative observational system developed for classrooms, but suitable for any activity setting.

Cover page of Review of Research on Educational Resilience

Review of Research on Educational Resilience


One area of research that has important implications for improving the education of students at risk of academic failure is concerned with “resilient” students, or those students who succeed in school despite the presence of adverse conditions. In education, conceptual and empirical work on resilience has gained recognition as a framework for examining why some students are successful in school, while others from the same socially- and economically-disadvantaged backgrounds and communities are not. Such a framework could be useful in helping educators design more effective educational interventions that take into account “alterable” factors that distinguish resilient students from nonresilient students. The purpose of this report is to explain how a focus on educational resiliency might lead to improvements in the education of students at risk of academic failure. Issues related to the definition of resiliency are discussed, and several resilience studies that have helped to develop the field are reviewed. Recent studies in the area of educational resiliency are examined, specifically those that focus on the differences between resilient and nonresilient students, their family environment, and their perceptions of the classroom and school environment. The final sections of the report discuss implications for educational practice and research.

Cover page of Impact of Two-way Bilingual Elementary Programs on Students’ Attitudes Toward School and College

Impact of Two-way Bilingual Elementary Programs on Students’ Attitudes Toward School and College


The purpose of this study was to examine the influence that participation in a two-way bilingual elementary program has had on former program participants’ language and achievement outcomes; current schooling path and college plans; and attitudes toward school, self, and others. Study participants were current high school students who were enrolled in a two-way program throughout elementary school. Participants (n=142) were categorized into three ethnic/language groups: Hispanic previous English Language Learning (ELL) students (66%), Hispanic native English speakers (20%), and Euro American students (13%). Results suggest that most students valued their bilingualism and were still using Spanish, had very positive attitudes toward school and attending college, believed they would not drop out of school, and gave very high marks to the two-way program. Few ethnic/language group differences were found, with the exception that the program was evaluated much more favorably in some areas by Hispanic students compared to Euro students, with Hispanic former ELL students typically providing the highest ratings.

Cover page of Sociocultural Factors in Social Relationships: Examining Latino Teachers' and Paraeducators' Interactions with Latino Students

Sociocultural Factors in Social Relationships: Examining Latino Teachers' and Paraeducators' Interactions with Latino Students


Sociocultural theory emphasizes the social nature of learning and the cultural-historical contexts in which interactions take place. Thus, teacher-student interactions and the relations that are fostered through these contexts play an especially vital role in student achievement. It has been argued that culturally responsive instruction can have a positive impact on interactions between teachers and students. This paper explores the effect of sociocultural factors on the relationships and interactions between Latino students and 32 Latino teachers and paraeducators. Findings suggest that knowledge of students' culture and communities, their primary language, and the interactional styles with which they are familiar facilitates meeting their academic and social needs. Findings also suggest that school roles shape interactions, and that teachers and paraeducators focus on different aspects of children's development. The term paraeducator is used to describe school personnel hired to assist students directly in the classroom. It is concluded that school contexts must afford diverse students opportunities to utilize the resources they bring to the classroom by validating those resources and creating learning contexts that tap into them. The idea is not new, but putting it into practice has proved difficult.

Cover page of Apprenticeship for Teaching: Professional Development Issues Surrounding the Collaborative Relationship Between Teachers and Paraeducators

Apprenticeship for Teaching: Professional Development Issues Surrounding the Collaborative Relationship Between Teachers and Paraeducators


This report discusses findings from a study that examined issues surrounding the collaborative relationship between Latino paraeducators and the classroom teachers with whom they worked. Specifically, the study examined the types of activities that the paraeducators engaged in, the input they had in classroom instructional activities, the assistance they received from teachers and others, and the factors that detracted from or fostered collaborative relationships.

The participants were drawn from two large public elementary schools in Southern California that serve predominantly working-class Latino language minority students. The school sites were chosen for their affiliation with the Latino Teacher Project (LTP), a program designed for the recruitment and retention of Latino teachers. The program supports preservice teachers monetarily through a stipend and through part-time positions as paraeducators in schools. LTP is based on an apprenticeship model as an added approach to teacher education. Paraeducators are assigned mentors at the schools who are experienced teachers.

Thirty-two paraeducators were observed and interviewed for the study. The teachers the paraeducators worked with were also interviewed, regarding their perceptions of the paraeducators' role. Between March 1998 and February 1999, eight to ten observations were made of the paraeducators working directly with students on language arts activities. Notes from classroom observations and informal conversations and interview transcripts were analyzed using a grounded approach.

Findings reveal that a lack of interaction between teachers and paraeducators allowed little time for paraeducators to ask questions of the teachers or for the teachers to assist the paraeducators in the development of effective teaching strategies. Both paraeducators and teachers indicated that more opportunities for teacher-paraeducator interaction would be very beneficial.

The findings also suggest that the school cultures are not structured to support collaboration between teachers and paraeducators, and that a hierarchical structure of social relations exists that influences how teachers and paraeducators relate to each other. A critical finding is that teachers are not aware that paraeducators possess a knowledge of the students' culture and community that is essential for tapping into students' prior knowledge and interests.

Policy implications for professional development and areas for further research are discussed.

Cover page of The Effects of Instructional Conversations and Literature Logs on the Story Comprehension and Thematic Understanding of English Proficient and Limited English Proficient Students

The Effects of Instructional Conversations and Literature Logs on the Story Comprehension and Thematic Understanding of English Proficient and Limited English Proficient Students


As part of an ongoing "component building" (Slavin, 1984) program of research designed to estimate the effects of several individual components of a Spanish-to-English language arts transition program (Saunders, O'Brien, Lennon, & McLean, 1998), an experiment tested the effects of two instructional components—literature logs and instructional conversations—on the story comprehension and thematic understanding of upper-elementary-grade students. Five teachers and 116 fourth and fifth graders participated in the study. Slightly more than half the students were English learners completing their first or second year of English language arts. Teachers had completed one year of literature log and instructional conversation training. Students were randomly assigned to one of four treatment conditions: literature logs only, instructional conversations only, literature logs plus instructional conversations, and control. Posttests found significant differences among treatment groups. Students in the instructional conversation and the literature log plus instructional conversation groups scored significantly higher than the control group on story comprehension. Moreover, students in all three experimental groups were significantly more likely to demonstrate an understanding of the story themes than students in the control group. The combined effects of literature logs and instructional conversations on students' essays about a story's theme varied by language proficiency: For limited English proficient students, the combined effects of literature logs and instructional conversations were greater than the effects of either treatment condition alone. For fluent English proficient students, however, the combined effects were not significantly greater than the effect of one treatment condition or the other.

Cover page of Collaborative Practices in Bilingual Cooperative Learning Classrooms

Collaborative Practices in Bilingual Cooperative Learning Classrooms


It is by now well established that self-organized acts of learning can have important long-term cognitive benefits. The many programs of cooperative learning, while they vary in detail, all agree that participants must actively work together for such benefits to be realized (Cohen, 1990). Further, because cognitive change is revealed through the ways in which learners' sense of ownership and control over their intellectual products is increased over time, the changes are not easily observed as they happen. Students generally work in small, informally organized groups, relying on their own everyday communicative practices. Instances of ongoing productive collaboration often seem fleeting or hard to detect. Apart from relying on such finished products as workbooks or written texts, teachers—who spend much of their time circulating in the classroom and answering questions as they come up—may have difficulty determining whether student groups are making progress. One of the teachers in our research group commented that watching the analyzed videotapes of groups at work enabled her to gain useful insights into how the children go about solving their tasks and how easily adults' questioning can influence students' attempts to integrate what they are learning with what they already know.

Our research on collaborative learning has been guided by questions such as the following: If we are looking for evidence of individual achievement in order to evaluate program success, how can we know we are looking at the right phenomena? Can we rely on evaluations that relate performance on standardized tests to incentive and reward structures? The validity of such measures has been seriously debated for several years (Durán, 1989; Gardner, 1990). Should we instead, as a means of gaining more direct insights into the potential benefits of cooperative learning, examine more closely how collaboration reveals itself in the classroom and analyze what children do in working together and how teachers meet the challenge of entering into informal interactions with student groups? That is the course we intend to take here.

We use the term collaboration to mean collaborative interaction in situations where two or more individuals are demonstrably working together toward the achievement of particular tasks. Recent work on organizational design and small group functioning with adults tells us that collaboration in work settings is regarded as difficult to achieve; it does not just happen when people are put together and required to do a task in unison (Galagher, Kraut, & Egido, 1990). A supportive social milieu and a task infrastructure are required. In this paper, we focus on collaboration as a group phenomenon in which complex tasks are managed through close, step-by-step, apparently casual monitoring by participants of each other's actions, often cued through language. It can be argued that with children, the need to provide support and task infrastructure is even greater than with adults (Tharp & Gallimore, 1988).

The advantages of student-guided learning are described in the recent literature on mathematics instruction, where cooperative programs have come to take an important place among the innovative methods designed to improve performance. They do this by creating a learning environment where students are able to make sense of new information by relating it to what they already know. Consider the following statement from a report by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics:

"All students engage in a great deal of invention as they learn mathematics; they impose their own interpretation on what is presented, to create a theory that makes sense to them. Students do not learn simply a subset of what they have been shown. Instead, they use new information to modify their prior beliefs. As a consequence, each student's knowledge of mathematics is uniquely personal. (1991, p. 2)"

Brown and Campione (1993) have developed methods of instruction through guided discovery and participation that address some of these issues directly. Their classroom procedures are designed to provide a complex organization of several types of participation frames (Goodwin, 1990). They conceive of instruction as sequences of first small, then larger participatory groups, until the whole class is involved in what is called a "community of learners." Brown and Campione state that "the essence of team-work is pooling expertise," and they point out that in their classrooms, "we also aim at increasing diversity of expertise and interests so that members of the community can benefit from the increasing richness of knowledge available to them" (1993, p.8). They describe their methods of achieving instructional change as the creation of "sub-cultures of expertise," where students can do their own work but where they can share their findings in many ways, from addressing a small group to presenting in front of a whole classroom community. Although the person in the role of expert varies, sequences of presentation, discussion, and deliberation remain central to the activities. Whole class and group discussion sequences are built on a dialogic structure that usually follows a modified Socratic method, where one student is placed in the role of expert, and there is a main speaker and multiple listeners, as well as a single responder within a question-answer format ( Brown & Campione, 1993; Brown & Palinscar, 1989). The authors go on to point out that the difficult art of teaching in such classrooms requires the teacher to judge the situations and times at which adult intervention would provide guidance and not interference. They stress that in order to bring cooperation to the traditional classroom, it is necessary to adjust the balance between teacher-led discussion and group work, so that children can exchange information for themselves.

However, the Brown and Campione science education project has each group choose a single expert who directs the proceedings and so sets up a dominantly one-to-many participation frame. Moreover, much science instruction, like mathematics instruction, relies in part on certain instructional tools, such as numerical representations or geometrical models or laboratory equipment, to assist in conveying information. Students tend to work on problems where the cognitive operations are closely related to pre-established procedures or algorithms, so that the domain of expertise can more readily be delineated. Language arts programs, on the other hand, although able to emphasize different kinds of language genres, such as poems, story telling and writing, plays, play acting, and —for young children—the use of drawing to support writing, ultimately depend on words as the main tools for learning. Both instruction and evaluation of performance rely almost exclusively on talk, so that potentially everyone is an expert. For this reason, it becomes necessary to seek systematic information on how language or talk functions in such programs in actual classroom situations: that is, information about the communicative activities through which teachers teach a subject's content and through which students manage their own learning in order to understand how performance outcomes are achieved.

In cooperative learning environments, small groups of students work together to accomplish specific pedagogical tasks, and teachers act as facilitators (Slavin, 1990). Many of these classrooms rely on relatively informal communicative strategies that are conversational in form but instructional in intent, as teachers scaffold the learning process by restating and expanding on students' contributions (Tharp & Gallimore, 1988). Frequently made arguments in favor of these new informal methods are that they have much in common with the parent-child and peer-group interaction processes that researchers have found to be so important for children's learning and cognitive development (Rogoff, 1990).

One highly significant characteristic of cooperative learning that has received little consideration so far is the shift in participation frame that takes place when students are left alone to work on classroom tasks. In many traditional classrooms, the teacher directs the learning process, guiding the students through the various stages of a task by questioning and evaluating contributions at every stage in the process. Students' participation is usually confined to relatively brief replies that are expected to be responsive to the teacher and that are subject to close monitoring and evaluation by the teacher for their possible relevance (Mehan, 1979). In cooperative learning processes on the other hand, students are free to take their own time to work out their learning strategies, and they rely on peer group processes of the kind associated with home and play environments, both to establish collaboration and to guide their own learning. Support for cooperative learning processes comes from educational psychologists and anthropologists who, following Vygotsky's theories, see learning as an interactive process based in communities of practice in which groups of individuals collaborate in the pursuit of shared goals (Moll, 1992; Wertsch, 1985). It is in such exchanges that learning processes can be made into observable activities. Central to the case studies described here is the fact that everyday informal conversational exchanges play an essential role in group processes where one speaker is given primary rights of speaking, but where participants must compete for the floor and cooperate in achieving shared communicative tasks.

Cover page of Becoming Bilingual in the Amigos Two-Way Immersion Program

Becoming Bilingual in the Amigos Two-Way Immersion Program


The debate around bilingual education continues to spark controversy between its detractors and its supporters. The education of linguistic minority students in the United States is a complex issue, involving contrasting theories of education itself, the values of American society, and the extent to which cross-culturalism can be maintained effectively. Although proponents of bilingual education argue that it increases students' academic success, opponents argue that it leads to academic failure (see, for example, Crawford, 1989; Hakuta, 1986; Porter, 1990; Wong Fillmore, 1991).

Success or failure of bilingual education cannot necessarily be addressed as a whole. Several different kinds of bilingual programs are available to the non-English-speaking student in the United States (see Note). These programs differ in the degree to which they promote and/or use English and the home language of the students in the classroom. Thus, the value of bilingualism is seen differently in the different programs. For example, transitional bilingual education is designed so that use of the two languages in the classroom is a temporary phase during transition to English mastery. In contrast, in two-way bilingual programs, in which instruction is given in both languages throughout the program, bilingualism is seen as the ultimate goal - the mastery both of English and of the home language.

While these differences in programs may seem to be purely ideological, the psychological impact on the students is enormous. Lambert (1974) distinguished between "additive" and "subtractive" bilingualism. The additive case implies that an individual suffers no loss of the primary language and the associated culture, while the subtractive case implies that an individual undergoes a loss of primary language skills and general academic performance. Lambert also drew attention to the roles played by attitudes, aptitudes, and motivation in second language learning. He believes that the degree of language mastery influences an individual's self-concept and sense of attainment of proficiency.

There are few studies of students' attitudes toward their own bilingualism, particularly in two-way programs (Christian, Montone, Lindholm, & Carranza, 1997). Griego-Jones (1994), in a small study of 10 Latino kindergarten students in a two-way program, found that the students actually preferred English over Spanish, because English was perceived to be the language of high status and achievement. Looking at older (fourth grade) students, Hayashi (1998) found that students in a two-way bilingual program and in a transitional bilingual program were equally enthusiastic about their bilingualism, as reported on questionnaires. In individual interviews, however, the students in thetransitional program reported that they thought they did not need instruction in Spanish, because they already spoke Spanish. In contrast, the students in the two-way program all thought the time spent in Spanish instruction was valuable and necessary to their achievement in both languages.

Although neither of the studies mentioned above examined data on achievement, research on the most effective forms of bilingual education (usually in terms of English achievement) suggests that two-way programs may be the best. Two-way bilingual education has been described in a national study as "the program with the highest long-term academic success" (Thomas & Collier, 1997, p. 52). The students' success in these programs is undoubtedly due to a number of factors. These include opportunities for linguistic minority students to assume strong peer leadership roles in the classroom, an emphasis on grade-level academic instruction in both languages, sustained support for and use of multicultural curricula, and opportunities for non-English-speaking parents to form close partnerships with the school staff as well as with other parents. The purpose of the present report is to examine students' development in a two-way bilingual program by focusing on both their attitudes toward becoming bilingual (and possibly bicultural) and their school achievement in both languages. Although we do not have data to examine causal links between attitudes and achievement, we see this study as a first step toward showing the relationship between the two.

Cover page of Scaling up School Restructuring in Multicultural, Multilingual Contexts: Early Observations from Sunland County

Scaling up School Restructuring in Multicultural, Multilingual Contexts: Early Observations from Sunland County


Two of the most rapidly developing fields in educational research are diversity education (e.g., Tharp & Gallimore, 1988) and school restructuring/school reform (e.g., Murphy & Hallinger, 1993; Newmann & Wehlage, 1995; Tyack & Cuban, 1995). Unfortunately, the intersection of the two fields is virtually uncultivated. None of the nationally disseminated school restructuring models was developed specifically for multilingual, multicultural contexts. With the exception of Éxito para Todos, the Spanish version of Success For All (Slavin, Madden, & Wasik, 1996), there is virtually no research on the effectiveness of the programs in achieving implementation, let alone improvements in student achievement, in multilingual, multicultural contexts. In the first study of its kind, three broad policy questions will be addressed through the study "Scaling Up School Restructuring in Multicultural, Multilingual Contexts." They include the following:

1. How effective are current generation school restructuring proposals in improving the achievement of students in schools serving large numbers of language minority students in a multicultural context?

2. Are some of the current school restructuring models better suited to multilingual, multicultural contexts than others? Can the various reforms be successfully modified to provide high quality educational services to all students in diverse multicultural, multilingual contexts?

3. What actions at the federal, state, school district, subdistrict, and school levels increase (or decrease) the probability of obtaining full benefits from any or all of the restructuring models when the models are being implemented in multicultural, multilingual contexts?

This paper presents early observations of 13 culturally and linguistically diverse schools in Sunland County. 1 Each school is in the process of implementing an externally developed school restructuring design. Sunland County Public Schools provides education to students from a very richly diverse set of cultures and language groups. Sunland County has one of the largest second language populations of any district in the country, with Spanish and Haitian Creole being the most common of over 100 languages and dialects. In this paper, data from the 1st of 4 years of field work will be reported regarding early insights into the classroom, school, and district conditions and actions that are facilitating or hindering implementation of the various school reforms. Over the years 1998-2001, additional reports will be produced on issues related to institutionalization of the reforms at each school site and on the effects of the reforms on the academic progress of various groups of students at the schools.

Cover page of Pedagogy Matters: Standards for Effective Teaching Practice

Pedagogy Matters: Standards for Effective Teaching Practice


This paper presents five standards for pedagogy that are applicable across grade levels, student populations, and content areas. The five pedagogy standards are joint productive activity (JPA), language and literacy development (LD), meaning making (MM), complex thinking (CT), and instructional conversation (IC). These standards emerge from principles of practice that have proven successful with majority and minority at-risk students in a variety of teaching and learning settings over several decades. Indicators are introduced for each standard, revealing action components of the standards and their functions in teaching and learning. Illustrations and examples reflecting the standards and their indicators across a broad range of classroom settings are presented to support a claim of universality for such standards in K-12 majority and minority at-risk students' classrooms. The purpose is to urge standards-based reform to reflect its own recommendation that pedagogy occupy a central place in accomplish-ing all student learning.