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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Generating knowledge of academic language among urban middle school students

  • Author(s): Snow, Catherine E
  • Lawrence, Joshua Fahey
  • White, Claire
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

A quasi-experimental study of a novel, cross-content area vocabulary intervention program called Word Generation showed significantly greater growth among 6th- to 8th-grade students in schools implementing the program than in comparison schools, on a curriculum-specific test. Furthermore, the language-minority students in the treatment, but not the comparison, schools showed greater growth than the English-only students. Improvement on the curriculum-specific test predicted performance on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) English language arts assessment, again only for students in the treatment schools. Recognizing the need to implement a more rigorous experimental study of this program, nonetheless we conclude that participation in the intervention, with its focus on deep reading, comprehension of current-events topics, productive classroom discussion, developing arguments, and producing persuasive essays, was a plausible contributor to student performance on the MCAS.

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