Research

Literacy in the History Classroom

Investigators: Judi Conroy, Jacqueline D'warte (with PI Robert Moeller, UCI Department of History; Nicole Gilbertson and Rob Vicario, UCI Center for Educational Partnerships)

Funding: California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC)

This project involved professional development for middle and high school teachers in the Santa Ana Unified School District using research-based strategies to enhance and accelerate the development of academic literacy for native and non-native English speakers with low achievement in reading and writing. Using a linguistic model of academic language development (Scarcella, 2004), the project introduced teachers to text-based literacy strategies.

The purpose of the research was to determine the impact of professional development on the beliefs and attitudes of teachers, then the implementation of these practices and eventual impact on student achievement. The research questions included:

  • Do teachers exposed to the Literacy in the History Classroom professional development program improve their attitudes toward teaching and toward their ability to improve student achievement?

  • Do teachers exposed to the Literacy in the History Classroom professional development program implement the strategies they have learned?

  • Do students of teachers who received professional development treatment score higher than control group students in the comprehension of historical subject matter?

  • Do students of teachers who received professional development treatment score higher than control group students in the skills of historical analysis?

A quasi-experimental design was used to examine the effects of the intervention. Students of teachers who participated in the professional development program were compared to students of teachers who do not receive the training. Change in students' comprehension and analysis skills were measured with annual pre- and post-test writing assessments.