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The Relationship between the Quality of the Early Childhood Classroom Environment and Vocabulary Development in Young Children Learning English as a Second Language

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Torti, C. D. (2007). The Relationship Between the Quality of Early Childhood Classroom Environment and Vocabulary Development in Young Children Learning English as a Second Language. United States: …

Torti, C. D. (2007). The Relationship Between the Quality of Early Childhood Classroom Environment and Vocabulary Development in Young Children Learning English as a Second Language. United States: ProQuest Information and Learning Company.

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  • 1. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE QUALITY OF THE EARLY CHILDHOOD CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT AND VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT IN YOUNG CHILDREN LEARNING ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE by CRYSTAL D. TORTI Submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Texas A&M University-Commerce in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of DOCTOR OF EDUCATION December 2006 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 2. UMI Number: 3245241 Copyright 2006 by Torti, Crystal D. All rights reserved. INFORMATION TO USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. Broken or indistinct print, colored or poor quality illustrations and photographs, print bleed-through, substandard margins, and improper alignment can adversely affect reproduction. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if unauthorized copyright material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion. ® UMI UMI Microform 3245241 Copyright 2007 by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved. This microform edition is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code. ProQuest Information and Learning Company 300 North Zeeb Road P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, Ml 48106-1346 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 3. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE QUALITY OF THE EARLY CHILDHOOD CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENTS AND VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT IN YOUNG CHILDREN LEARNING ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE Approved: ■i oor 'Adviser . /K-.___ Hi,___ tment Head of the College Dean of Graduate Studies and Research ii Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 4. Copyright ® 2006 Crystal D. Torti iii Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 5. ABSTRACT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE QUALITY OF THE EARLY CHILDHOOD CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENTS AND VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT IN YOUNG CHILDREN LEARNING ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE Crystal Torti, EdD Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2006 Advisor: David L. Brown, PhD The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the quality of the early childhood classroom environment and the receptive vocabulary development of young children learning English as a second language. The Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale- Revised edition (ECERS-R) (Harms, Clifford, & Cryer, 1998) was utilized to measure the quality of the classroom environment. Additionally, the researcher administered the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Third edition (PPVT-III) (Dunn & Dunn, 1997) to measure the children's receptive vocabulary. Aspects of the classroom environment (i.e., Space and Furnishings, Personal Care Routines, Language- Reasoning, Activities, Interactions, Program Structure, and iv Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 6. Parents and Staff subscales on the ECERS-R) were investigated to determine if they served as predictors to classroom quality and receptive vocabulary development in English language learners. Further, demographic data were collected on participants. Teacher attributes (i.e., ethnicity, years of experience, certification areas) and student attributes (i.e., home language, gender) were used for descriptive purposes. Data were collected from a child development center located in a small northeast Texas town. The child development center was composed entirely of preschool and Head Start classrooms. There were 27 classrooms in the center, and 10 classrooms and their teachers were randomly selected to participate in the study. In addition, 102 children were randomly selected from the 10 classrooms. Results indicated that no significant changes occurred in the composite scores on the ECERS-R over the course of the school year. There were significant changes in student scores on the PPVT-III from fall to spring. Further, the composite scores on the ECERS-R were negatively correlated to children's scores on the PPVT-III. The results of this study also indicated that three out of seven individual subscales from the ECERS-R showed a significant negative correlation with children's scores on the PPVT-III. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 7. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This page is a tribute to those who have contributed unconditionally not only to this part of my education, but also to helping me to become a better person. Their unending support and encouragement have made this journey so much easier, and I owe a debt of gratitude to each of them. To my husband, C. J., words can never express my feelings for your consistent patience and enduring love throughout this journey. Not only were you always there to listen to me complain, but you never complained about the late night courses or weekend trips to meet with my advisor. You are absolutely a wonderful husband, and I would never have been able to make this amazing journey without you by my side. I love you. To my two girls, Quilla and Rocko, I love you. You were always there to lick my face and snuggle with me after long nights at class. I spent much more time away from you than I would have liked, and I promise to make that up to you now with plenty of trips in the back of the truck and lots of new bones for you to chew! My parents, Gary and Terry Bell and Reba Lindsey, provided years of support of encouragement. You always told me that I could accomplish anything that I wished... and I vi Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 8. have! You made me believe that I could rise above and succeed in life, and I thank you for that. To my MeeMaw, you have been so supportive and loving. I thank you for always being such a positive person in my life. I am so glad that we are finally close together. To Audrey, Richard, and Chelsea, I can never express in words how much you have done for m e . You have been a second family to me, and I love you all. A special thank you is also extended to my in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. Chris Torti, Mr. and Mrs. Dominick Torti, and Mr. and Mrs. Cruz Lopez and family, for their support and encouragement. I love you all! To my very best friends in the world and my fellow doctoral students, Alison Jones, Yvette Carrasco, Kathy Stephens, I thank you for easing the stress during these past few months. Having you all for friends is a blessing, and I truly could not have asked for better, more dedicated people with whom to have gone through this program. I value our continued discussions and shared insights, and I look forward to continuing our journeys, as friends and colleagues. To Dr. Chet Sample, who told me I could do it, I thank you for your unending encouragement and support. You are a wonderful teacher, mentor, and friend. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 9. To my outside committee person, Dr. Lin Moore, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued encouragement and for your valuable contributions to my study. I am truly blessed to have had you on my committee, and I can never express how much your kind words meant to me during these last steps of the dissertation. To my committee member, Dr. Martha Foote, I have truly enjoyed knowing you as a friend and colleague. I have learned so much from you, not only in the program, but also from observing you as a teacher—and striving to become half the teacher that you are. You have made my time at Texas A & M University-Commerce fabulous. I hope to have the privilege of continuing to work with you. A wealth of gratitude is owed to my major advisor, Dr. David Brown. Throughout this whole journey, you have taken on the role as my advisor, my mentor, my friend. You always had positive feedback for me, even during times when I am sure you were ready to pass me on to someone else. You have set an example for me as an educator, and I observe in you the excellence that I can only hope to one day accomplish. I thank you wholeheartedly for your continued support, encouragement, and above all else, your guidance. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 10. To Sharon Bradford, I thank you for taking on the responsibility of data checking and editing. Your expertise really was appreciated. To Natalie Henderson, I thank you for the work that you did as the Doctoral Coordinator. You truly cared about us as students, and it was evident in your prompt attention to our needs during stressful times. I can never thank you enough for helping to alleviate some of that stress! To my incredible colleagues at Farmersville Intermediate School, John Clements, Da Renda Bush, Paula Uland, Becky Shives, and Sandy Hemby, you have all been so patient and supportive of me during these past few weeks. I truly could not have asked for a better place to teach. I am inspired every day by your dedication to our profession and to our children. I idolize you all, and I thank you for welcoming me into your school. Finally, to the Elementary Education department at Texas A & M University-Commerce, with whom I worked throughout the doctoral program, I owe you a huge thank you. The department was always supportive, and there was always someone there to help during the tough times. I thank you for the experiences that you offered me as a researcher and as a teacher, and I look forward to continuing our relationships as colleagues. A special thank Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 11. you is extended to Maureen Preston and Priscilla Nichols for their quick answers to my unending questions. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 12. TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES................................................XV CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................ 1 Statement of the Problem....................................6 The Purpose of the Study.................................... 8 Research Questions.......................................... 8 Null Hypotheses........................................ 9 Significance of the Study.................................. 10 Current Student Populations.............................. 10 Early Literacy Skills.................................... 15 Classroom Quality......................................... 16 Vocabulary Development............ 21 Conclusion........ ,........................ 23 Method of Procedure........................................ 24 Assumptions of the Study................................... 25 Limitations of the Study............ 26 Delimitations of the Study.................................26 Definitions of Terms........................... 27 Organization of Remaining Chapters........................ 29 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE.............................30 Student Population Trends.................................. 30 Second Language Learning Programs and Theoretical Assumptions............................................... 31 xi Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 13. Assessment and Placement of English Language Learners...36 Instruction for English Language Learners.............. 41 Classroom Quality and the Development of Literacy Skills ....................................................... 45 Qualities of Early Childhood, ELL classrooms........... 73 Teachers, Pedagogical Beliefs, and Teaching Methods 75 Vocabulary Development..................................... 81 Vocabulary Development and English Language Learners 87 Summary........................................................ 93 CHAPTER 3 METHODS AND PROCEDURES........................... 101 Design of the Study.............. :................ 102 Procedures..................................... 1 Setting and Participants.................................. 104 Instrumentation .......................................114 Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-Revised Edition............................................ 114 Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Third Edition......... 118 Teacher Interviews...................................... 121 Collection of Data........................................ 122 Quantitative Data Collection............................123 Preliminary Data Collection........................... 123 Final Data Collection..................................126 Qualitative Data Collection............................. 128 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 14. Data Analysis.............................................. 129 Summary..................................................... 130 CHAPTER 4 PRESENTATION OF DATA..............................132 Treatment of the Data..................................... 133 Analysis Results...........................................134 Classroom Quality........................................ 134 PPVT-III............................... ,.................. 139 Qualitative Data Analysis............................... 148 Summary................ 161 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS.......................162 Summary of the Findings................................... 162 Classroom Quality and Receptive Vocabulary Development ...........................................................163 Limitations.............................................. 170 Implications............................................. 171 Future Research Directions.............................. 173 Summary.............................................. 176 REFERENCES........................................... 178 APPENDIX A: Superintendent's Approval Letter............ 200 APPENDIX B: IRB Approval Letter........................... 202 APPENDIX C: Principal Approval Letter..................... 204 APPENDIX D: Teacher Consent Letter and Form.............. 206 APPENDIX E: Parent Consent Letter and Form.............. 210 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 15. xiv APPENDIX F: Teacher Demographic Form.......................217 APPENDIX G: PPVT-III Test User Approval Letter...........2189 APPENDIX H: Classroom Schedules........................... 221 VITA................................... Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 16. XV LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Distribution of Students Enrolled in the Child Development Center by Ethnicity..................... 105 Table 2: Distribution of the Teachers by Years of Teaching Experience.................................. 110 Table 3: Distribution of Selected Students by Program Type................................ 114 Table 4: Distribution of ECERS-R Mean Subscale Scores 137 Table 5: One-Way Analysis of Variance Summary for Student Scores on the PPVT-III...................... 141 Table 6: Correlations among the ECERS-R Subscales and Children's Scores on the PPVT-III...................143 Table 7: Language-Reasoning Subscale and Item Scores from the ECERS-R............................... 145 Table 8: Activities Subscale and Item Scores from ECERS-R............................................... 146 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 17. CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Today's schools serve an ever-growing population of students from various cultural groups. Naturally, this means that teachers must be prepared to accept the demands that this places on them. Multiculturalism frequently brings a rich variety of languages into the classrooms, and one of the demands for educators now becomes a search for the best teaching practices to assist learners from non- English speaking backgrounds. According to the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) 2000-2001 Summary Report (2002), the population of foreign-born residents in the United States was 31.1 million in 2000. This figure was up significantly from previous years, placing an imminent need on schools for a more comprehensive look at English as a second language (ESL) instruction. California had the largest Limited English Proficient (LEP) population with 1,511,646 students enrolled, and Texas had the second largest enrollment of LEP students with 570,022 enrolled in public schools. A report by the OELA (2002) noted that of all students coming from non-English speaking backgrounds, 79% of them were from Spanish speaking homes. The OELA also reported that on average, only one teacher for every 44 LEP 1 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 18. students was certified to teach children learning English as their second language. According to Goldenberg (2005), the trend in the United States is that English Language Learners (ELLs) are increasing dramatically, especially Spanish-speaking children. Goldenberg estimates that there are approximately 5.1 million ELLs enrolled in public schools across the entire nation, K-12, and that the largest population of those children are from Spanish-speaking homes. The * National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) (2005) reported that there are over 600,000 students who speak languages other than English who are enrolled in Texas public schools. NCES reported that there are approximately 1,895,000 Hispanic students enrolled in public schools across Texas, compared to a national average of about 175,000, although it is important to note that Texas is a large state. The NCES supported findings by the OELA (2002) that a large majority of the second language learners enrolled in public schools are from Hispanic backgrounds. These statistics are an eye-opener for educators, as the pressures increase for schools to provide early quality instruction for all students, including those learning English as their second language, in order to improve academic achievement (U.S. Department of Education, 2002). Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 19. In 1 9 7 4 ,Lau v. Nichols paved the way for English language services for children who are non-English speakers. The court decision was brought about because a school district in San Francisco refused to meet the needs of 1,800 children of Chinese ancestry who did not speak English. The school district's refusal to provide special services to accommodate these children led to a suit in which the court determined that this refusal of services was a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination based on "race, color, or national origin" (as cited in Lau v. Nichols, 1974). The suit was won by Lau, and schools across the nation began to realize the importance of providing services to those children who are from non-English speaking homes. Additionally, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 mandated that school districts must utilize allocated resources under Title III for the services of students who do not speak English as their native language. The act states that schools must provide high-quality instruction based on scientific research to students who are learning English as their second language. This act allocated funds to provide professional development to support teaching skills and instructional practices for second language learners. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 20. English as a second language is currently a hot topic in education. Although there are many recommendations as to how to best serve English language learners, a national report by Snow, Burns, and Griffin (1998) supported the position that children who enter school with limited English proficiency need opportunities to develop their native language skills while simultaneously learning skills in English. There is controversy because many of the programs in the United States emphasize the importance of learning English as quickly as possible (Tabors & Snow, 2002). As a result of increasing research on the importance of classroom quality (Bryant, Maxwell, and Burchinal, 1999; Cost, Quality, & Outcomes Study, 1995), many teachers are facing pressures to increase the quality of early childhood experiences. It was reported by NCES (2005) that Texas has a high number of children enrolled in preschool programs, compared to the national average reported by states that provide preschool services. Although it needs to be taken into consideration that Texas has a larger population in general, it was noted that Texas does have a large number of children entering preschool. According to the position statement on early literacy, the International Reading Association (IRA) contends that Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 21. young children benefit greatly from quality preschool experiences. Additionally, the position statement identified several areas that are predictors for later success in literacy in young children. These areas are oral language development, phonological/phonemic awareness, alphabetic knowledge, print knowledge, and invented spelling. Teachers and aides who are directly involved with planning instruction for young children have the responsibility to ensure that children receive quality preschool experiences that will help to prepare them to develop the skills needed to become literate. The people who are directly involved in the education of young children have the task of teaching children both academic and social skills that the children will need for the rest of their lives. With the combined issues of second language learning and early childhood education, teachers are faced with an ever-growing concern for providing the best possible education for each child. Researchers have also shown that the classroom environment can have an impact on the vocabulary development of children (Dickinson & Tabors, 2001; Hart & Risley, 1995; Hemmeter & Kaiser, 1990; Peisner-Feinberg et a l ., 2001). By providing an environment that is conducive to quality early childhood experiences Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 22. and vocabulary development, teachers can better help children from diverse backgrounds. Consequently, the present study attempted to investigate both classroom quality and receptive vocabulary development of young children learning English as a second language. The researcher collected and analyzed the data to determine whether there was a significant relationship between the early childhood classroom environment and the receptive vocabulary development of young children learning English as their second language. The researcher utilized the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised Edition (ECERS- R) to measure the quality of the environment, and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Third Edition (PPVT-III) to measure the receptive vocabulary of the children. Statement of the Problem Early Childhood teachers are responsible for teaching young children and preparing them to enter elementary school. At the forefront of their responsibilities is to guide young children toward the process of becoming literate. In recent years, more children are entering public preschools in Texas. As OELA (2002) reported, there are approximately 600,000 children enrolled in public schools who do not speak English as their first language. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 23. Thus, a large number of the children entering preschools are also second language learners. This places an even larger responsibility on teachers of young children, as they have the task of teaching those children who are native English speakers and those who are just beginning to learn the English language. Given the large numbers of preschool English language learners and the recent pressures to raise academic achievement of all students (U.S. Department of Education, 2002), educators need to begin searching for types of interventions that can be implemented to help schools achieve this goal. Research has shown that classroom environments in which students learn have an effect on student outcomes such as early literacy skills, especially vocabulary development (Dickinson & Tabors, 2001; Hart & Risley, 1995; Hemmeter & Kaiser, 1990; Peisner-Feinberg et a l ., 2001). Specifically, certain aspects of the classroom environment such as structural features, classroom and caregiver dynamics, and staff attributes have been found to be associated with child well-being (Love, Schochet, & Meckstroth, 1996). However, because of the lack of research on second language learners and classroom environment, further research is needed that addresses the relationship between the quality of the classroom environment and its Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 24. effect on young children who are learning English as their second language. This study was conducted to address these issues. The Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to determine whether there was a significant relationship between the quality of the early childhood.classroom environment and the receptive vocabulary development of young children learning English as their second language in a small, northeast Texas child care center. This study also investigated whether specific aspects of the environment (i.e., subscales on the environmental rating scale) were related to receptive vocabulary scores. Finally, analyses were run to explore changes in ECERS-R scores or PPVT-III scores from fall to spring. Research Questions The following research questions guided this investigation: 1. To what extent does the quality of the early childhood, ESL classroom change over the course of an academic school year? 2. Do student scores on the PPVT-III change over the course of the academic school year? Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 25. 3. Is there a significant relationship between the quality classroom environment (as measured by the ECERS-R) and the receptive vocabulary (as measured by the PPVT-III) of early childhood, English Language Learners? Null Hypotheses The following null hypotheses were used for testing the statistical significance at the .05 level: 1. There are no significant changes in the composite score on the classroom quality rating scale over the course of the academic school year. 2. There are no significant changes in student scores on the PPVT-III. 3. There is no significant relationship between the composite score on the classroom quality rating scale and student scores on the receptive vocabulary test. 4. There is no significant relationship between the aspects of the environment (i.e., Space and Furnishings, Personal Care Routines, Language- Reasoning, Activities, Interactions, Program Structure, and Parents and Staff subscales from the classroom quality rating scale) and student scores on the receptive vocabulary test. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 26. 10 Significance of the Study- Current Student Populations The NCES (2005) noted that more and more children are entering public schools with limited English proficiency, specifically in California and Texas. NCES also noted that Texas had a significantly higher number of children enrolled in preschool programs compared to the national average of states who provided preschool. With these numbers in mind, a main concern turns to what the school system can provide to ensure academic success of these children. According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) (2005), there is gap between the academic achievement of Hispanic children and that of their Caucasian classmates, although it is important to note that not all Hispanic children are ELLs. The TEA reported that at third grade, 85% of Hispanic children met the state standard in reading compared to 95% of Caucasian children. By the ninth grade, however, this gap had widened to 75% and 93% respectively. English language learners inherently face many hurdles in the education system. Added to these issues is the overrepresentation of ELLs in special education classes. Researchers have reported that children from linguistically and culturally diverse homes are grossly over represented Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 27. in special education classes (Brown, 2004; Cummins, 1986). Brown (2004) suggested that the reasons for this overrepresentation include: an overreliance on standardized tests; utilizing instruments that are culturally biased; interventions that are reactive versus proactive; and administrators' personal biases. Brown called for a paradigm shift in the ways that educators view ELLs. A concern voiced by Brown was that many educators do not distinguish between language difficulties (as experienced by ELLs) and language disabilities. This is the first step in resolving this problem, but the education system must also begin to see the importance of using high quality testing instruments that have been widely used and proven, as well as instruments that are culturally unbiased. Because approximately 79% of English language learners come from Hispanic heritage (OELA, 2002), it is important to note the current as well as ongoing trends associated with children who come from Spanish speaking homes. In 2003, an alarming 39.4% of Hispanic students born outside the United States were high school dropouts (Laird, Lew, Deball, & Chapman, 2006; TEA, 2005) . Even first and second generation Hispanics were much more likely to be high school dropouts than their Caucasian or African American peers. TEA (2005) further noted that approximately 10.6% of Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 28. high school dropouts were bilingual or students learning English as their second language. As reported by students who have dropped out of school, some reasons for this include poor academic achievement, financial hardships, and being older than their classmates. Laird et al . noted some of the effects of dropping out of high school. For example, those who finish high school or obtain their GED are more likely to enter the American workforce; therefore their incomes are reported as being significantly higher than those who do not finish high school. Further, high school dropouts are found to have more health problems later in life, and high school dropouts represent a huge number of prisoners. Somewhere along the way, the educational system is failing these students and jeopardizing their futures. Although there arefactors that the schools can not account for, educators canhelp to improve the academic achievement of Hispanic ELLs, and hopefully encourage the attainment of a high school diploma. Because early learning environments have been found to have an effect on academic performance (Dickinson & Tabors, 2001; Hart & Risley, 1995; Hemmeter & Kaiser, 1990; Peisner-Feinberg et al ., 2001), providing these quality environments to young children is a first step toward achieving this goal. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 29. A national report by Snow, Burns, and Griffin (1998) noted that a major goal of schools in the United States is to teach children how to read printed English, and that goal is significantly impeded by the large number of children who come into school without even knowing how to speak English. This means that children learning English as their second language are at risk because of cultural and language differences and these differences also create other factors that contribute to these children's academic risks. For example, this national report indicated that Hispanic children typically follow in their family's footsteps of being non-English speaking, low-income, and poorly educated. This becomes a cyclical pattern, as these children and their families often reside in communities in which the families are in similar situations, and the children often attend schools in which children are low achieving and minority. This assumption is further supported by ongoing research in Colorado, a state in which there is also a growing number of ELLs. A study by Escamilla, Chavez, and Vigil (2005) found that in schools where the student body was at least 80% Hispanic in ethnicity, almost all the schools were rated low or unsatisfactory. Additionally, these schools served families in high-poverty neighborhoods. The report by Snow et al . Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 30. (1998) indicated that,these characteristics are typical of many minority populations, but specifically these factors contribute to the low academic achievement of Hispanic children who are learning English as their second language. This report noted that "low English proficiency in a Hispanic child is a strong indication that the child is at risk for reading difficulty" (p. 123). However, it was also pointed out that it is not the language differences alone that put the child at risk, but rather the combination of socioeconomic, cultural, and linguistic differences. Perhaps most powerful was the authors' indication that school quality is an important factor in providing for the academic achievement of these children. Children who are native speakers of English are entering school with the task of acquiring and developing proficiency in their first language, whereas children who are learning English as their second language have the added task of learning two languages. Young children who enter preschool with limited English proficiency have the same developmental needs as their English speaking peers. They enter school needing a high-quality, supportive environment that will help them to develop early literacy skills. The difference is that these children are in need of specialized instruction that will help them to develop Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 31. 15 and enhance their native language, while learning the English language. In addition, when the overrepresentation of ELLs in special education classes is taken into consideration along with the academic achievement and dropout rates for Hispanic children learning English as their second language, attention must turn to the schools to provide early and quality education for children. Early Literacy Skills Research has shown that young children must develop early language and emergent literacy skills in order to be successful in literacy later in life (Dyson, 1983; Ginsborg & Locke, 2002; Roth, Speece, & Cooper, 2002; Snow & Tabors, 1993; Stahl & Yaden, 2004). According to Hart and Risley (1995), children need quality learning experiences before they enter kindergarten. In a 2-year longitudinal study of 42 children conducted by the authors, it was found that children's measures of accomplishment at three years of age were strong predictors of language skills. The findings indicated that what families did with the children when they were 1 or 2 years of age was very strongly associated with their academic accomplishments in later grades. Findings such as these indicate that children need rich learning experiences during their early years of life. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 32. Additionally, Snow and Tabors (1993) noted that the time period before kindergarten is the optimal time for children to develop language and emergent literacy skills that they need to help them develop future literacy skills. Roskos and Neuman (2002) noted that until recently, the environment in which young children learn had gone ignored or had been treated as a "backdrop for intervention studies rather than as a subject of analysis" (p. 281). More recent studies have shown that the environment in which young children learn has a great impact on their future academic success (Dickinson & Tabors, 2001; Hart & Risley, 1995; Hemmeter & Kaiser, 1990; McCartney, 1984). Classroom Quality In a 15-year study of over 70 low-income families and their children conducted by Dickinson and Tabors (2001), it was found that the literacy skills that children have at the end of their kindergarten year were strong predictors of their later success in literacy. Additionally, many of these noted skills were obtained in the classroom. Dickinson and Tabors further contended that aspects of the classroom would greatly depend on teachers' beliefs about pedagogy and responsibilities for the learning environment. If they were truly to understand how the classroom Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 33. environment affected outcomes, they would also need to look at these aspects of the teachers' belief systems. According to Dickinson and Tabors, classroom teachers who follow developmentally appropriate practice (Bredekamp, 1987) are more likely to have students with greater gains in literacy development. In a definition offered by Dickinson and Tabors, the philosophical principle guiding developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) is based on the idea that "young children learn best through direct manipulation of objects and ideas in the world and the related notion that the role of the teacher is to construct an environment in which children can independently explore and manipulate objects and ideas" (p. 149) . These teachers are also more likely to engage the children in rich language experiences and discourses by being an active part of conversations between the child and the teacher, which has also been found to increase children's language (McCartney, 1984). Dickinson's and Tabor's study did, in fact, support the idea that early learning experiences in preschool can be predictors of later literacy learning. Of particular importance, the authors found that language usage and teacher-child interactions were very strong predictors of scores on the receptive vocabulary test. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 34. Hart and Risley's (1995) longitudinal study of 42 families and their one- and two-year old children aimed to investigate the effects of socioeconomic status on literacy and language development. The researchers followed the children into their grade school years. The research team was specifically interested in the amount of talk occurring in the homes of the families, and data were collected over several years from observations in the homes. Hart and Risley concluded that young children in higher socioeconomic homes were spoken to much more often than children from lower socioeconomic homes. Moreover, the vocabulary used in the higher socioeconomic homes was often much more advanced. The research team also tracked the children from the study into their third grade years and found that their accomplishments in third grade were strongly correlated with their experiences with language before formal entry into school. Specifically, Hart and Risley noted that certain aspects of these early experiences proved beneficial to young children and included Language Diversity, Feedback Tone, Symbolic Emphasis, Guidance Style, and Responsiveness. In conclusion, what families, did with their children before three years of age was strongly correlated with the children's accomplishments later in life. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 35. Additionally, the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (2003) recently published its findings from a longitudinal research study known as the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES). This study began its first phase in 1997, where 3,200 children and their families were studied. The goal of the study was to investigate the characteristics, experiences, and outcomes of the children and families, all served by Head Start. The study found sufficient evidence to suggest that aspects of the school environment contribute to gains in students' cognitive and social development. These aspects of the environment included both program and classroom characteristics such as teacher years of experience, teacher educational attainment, and encouragement for family involvement. This finding supported previous findings by Buysse, Welley, Bryant, and Gardner (1999), who contended that these aspects contributed to the overall quality of the classroom environment. Further, a study by Burchinal, Cryer, Clifford, and Howes (2002) examined the relationship between teacher educational attainment and higher quality classrooms. In a study of 553 child care centers, the researchers looked at educational attainment and formal workshops attended by the teachers. The ECERS-R was utilized to measure the quality Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 36. of the early childhood environment. Burchinal, Cryer et al . (2002) noted that the educational attainment of teachers at the baccalaureate level or higher showed a consistent link to higher quality classrooms. Burchinal, Roberts, Riggins, Zeisel, Neebe, and Bryant (2000) concluded that overall, the quality of the childcare environment is significantly related to children's developmental growth over time. These are important findings that add to existing support for educators to provide high quality environments to young children. Further longitudinal studies were suggested to provide a consistent link between the quality of the environment and student outcomes. The reviewed literature on classroom quality indicated a gap in research addressing the quality of the classroom environment and its influences on the receptive vocabulary development of young children learning English as their second language. With the increasing number of children entering preschool, especially those learning English as their second language, additional research should examine the quality of learning experiences that children are receiving before entering a kindergarten classroom. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 37. 21 Vocabulary Development The National Reading Panel (2000) recently noted that vocabulary was one of the five most essential elements that a child needs to become a successful reader. A review of research by Folse (2004) suggested that vocabulary development was the single most important skill for children learning English as a second language, and he also noted that many elementary second language educators tend to focus more on other aspects of the language learning, such as grammar and writing. A longitudinal study of fourth and fifth grade students conducted by McLaughlin, August, and Snow (2000) suggested that English language learners rely more on vocabulary knowledge when reading than do native English speaking students. Other studies have supported that vocabulary development is essential for children learning English as their second language (Haynes & Baker, 1993; Verhallen & Schoonen, 1993) . Further, research has shown that in general, children who have higher vocabulary knowledge are more likely to understand text better; that is, vocabulary is positively correlated with higher comprehension (Nagy & Herman, 1987). Stahl (1999) noted that children need opportunities to learn words in context, rather than simply memorizing them. He differentiated between simply knowing the definition of Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 38. a word and actually knowing a word, "When a person 'knows' a word, they [sic] know more than the word's definition; they [sic] also know how that word functions in different contexts" (p. 19). He distinguished the definitional knowledge of a word, which is what a student might find in the dictionary, and the contextual knowledge of a word, which would require knowledge of how to use the word in various contexts. This idea was also supported in a theoretical piece by August, Carlo, Dressier, and Snow (2005). Further, Stahl noted that children typically learned between 1,000 and 5,000 words per year, and in order to accomplish this, it was necessary to provide some direct teaching of words. Stahl recommended what he felt was effective vocabulary instruction for all children: teaching both the definitional and contextual meanings of words, actively involving children in learning words, and providing many opportunities for children to use the words in meaningful contexts. August et al . (2005) noted that ELLs who are slow in their vocabulary development will tend to struggle more with reading comprehension than their English speaking peers in general. August et al . further noted that many ELLs lack both a depth of vocabulary as well as a breadth of vocabulary, but English and Spanish share cognate pairs, Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 39. or words that are both orthographically and semantically similar in both languages. Therefore, it may be possible to transfer existing knowledge to new words. The August et al . findings supported the previous work of Stahl (1999) and Nagy and Herman (1987), who contended that English language learners need to learn both definitional and contextual meanings of words, and they need plenty of opportunities to use the words in meaningful ways. In addition, August et al. stressed the importance of taking advantage of the children's knowledge of their native language to help them learn new words in English. Surprisingly, August et al. noted that "there are no reliable estimates of the breadth of vocabulary of Spanish speaking English language learners upon school entry or of the magnitude of their vocabulary growth over a school year" (p. 55). Studies on English speaking children are the only source for reliable estimates of what children should know and what they need to know (Biemiller & Slonim, 2001) . This suggests that further research is needed in the field of vocabulary development in children learning English as their second language. Conclusion Early childhood teachers have the responsibility of providing instruction to young children to support their Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 40. 24 development in literacy and language. Teachers of young children who are learning English as their second language have the added responsibility of ensuring that children enhance their first language while learning English as their second language. The reviewed studies provided a background and an understanding of second language learners, early childhood, classroom environments, and vocabulary development and guided the present study. Method of Procedure Data for this investigation were collected during the fall semester of 2005 and the spring semester of 2006 from 10 randomly selected early childhood teachers and their classrooms and from 102 randomly selected students enrolled in those classrooms. After obtaining permission to conduct the study from the university, the researcher obtained permission from the director of the early childhood learning center. Teacher and parental consents were obtained before any data were collected. The researcher visited the center throughout the fall and spring semesters and administered the ECERS-R in individual classrooms, as well as administered the PPVT-III to individual students. Additionally, the researcher also conducted the interviews for the qualitative portion of Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 41. 25 this study during November of 2005. Additional details describing the method used in this study are presented in Chapter 3. Assumptions of the Study The following assumptions served as the foundation for this invest igat ion: 1. The E^irly Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised edition is a valid and reliable instrument that will accurately measure the quality of the classroom environment. 2. The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Third edition is a valid and reliable instrument that will accurately measure the English receptive vocabulary of young children. 3. Teachers' instructional practices will influence the quality of the early childhood classroom. 4. Teacher participants included in the present study will utilize the adopted curriculum for the school district. The Child Development Center utilizes an interactive and age appropriate curriculum known as the Language Enrichment Activities Program (LEAP). Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 42. 26 5. The data obtained by the sdhool district on the Home Language Survey will remain unchanged over the course of the academic school year. Limitations of the Study The following limitations were included in this investigation: 1. This investigation will not attempt to control for home influences on receptive vocabulary development. 2. This investigation will not attempt to control for the socioeconomic status of the participants. Delimitations of the Study The following delimitations were a part of this investigation: 1. This investigation will be delimited to children in the preschool classrooms. 2. This investigation will be delimited to 102 preschool students in 10 classrooms in a small, north east Texas town. 3. Only students enrolled in M t . Pleasant Independent School District will be included in the present investigation. 4. This investigation will be delimited to students who are learning English as their second language. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 43. 27 5. The participants in the present study will only be administered the English version of the receptive vocabulary test. 6. Teacher participants with three or more years of experience will be included in the present study. Definitions of Terms The following terms are defined according to their usage in this study: Academic School Year: The academic school year will be defined from August to May in the present investigation. Aspects of the Environment: The aspects of the environment will be defined by the subscales on the ECERS-R (Space and Furnishings, Personal Care Routines, Language-Reasoning, Activities, Interactions, Program Structure, and Parents and Staff). Classroom Environment: Classroom environment will be defined as the socio-physical atmosphere of each classroom, and will be measured by the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised edition. Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised Edition (ECERS-R): This is a rating scale designed to measure the quality of the early childhood classroom. This instrument has seven subscales that measure the physical and social Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 44. aspects of the classroom: Space and furnishings, Personal care routines, Language-Reasoning, Activities, Interaction, Program Structure, and Parents and Staff. ELL: ELL is an abbreviation for the term English Language Learners. ESL: This refers to the term English as a Second Language. LEP: This term is defined as limited English proficiency, and refers to young children who are limited in the English language. Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Third Edition (PPVT-III): The PPVT-III is an instrument that is designed to measure the receptive vocabulary of young children. The children are shown picture plates and asked to identify certain pictures. Prekindergarten Student: Prekindergarten student will be defined as any child who has not yet entered kindergarten. This will include children who are 3, 4, and 5 years of age. Receptive Vocabulary: The receptive vocabulary is the collection of words that children can understand when heard or seen; this will be measured by the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised edition. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 45. 29 Teacher Certification Areas: Certification areas are defined as the certification type held by the teachers (e.g., ESL, Bilingual, Early Childhood). Teacher Years of Experience: This refers to the number of years the teacher has taught in a public school classroom. Organization of Remaining Chapters Chapter 2 reviews the existing literature and studies related to this investigation. Chapter 3 details the method and instrumentation for this study, and provides information and characteristics on the participants. The data are presented in detail in Chapter 4. Chapter 5 presents the summary, findings, conclusions, implications, and recommendations for further research. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 46. CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE The literature review for this study begins with a brief overview of the current demographics in Texas public schools, followed by different program types that serve English Language Learners (ELLs). Research findings indicating a need for English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction will follow. This is followed by research findings supporting ways to prepare and support future teachers of ELLs. Research in the field of early childhood classroom environments and ELLs will be followed by pedagogical beliefs and teaching methods. Finally, research findings on classroom quality and the development of literacy skills will be followed by both vocabulary development and vocabulary development in ELLs. This chapter will conclude with a summary of the reviewed research and its relation to the current study. Student Population Trends The statistics reported by the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) (2002) and the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) (2005) paint the picture of the current demographics in the state of Texas. There are many children entering preschools, and many of the 30 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 47. children entering schools are from non-English speaking homes. Teachers in early childhood settings are responsible for teaching young children how to become literate. With the large numbers of children coming to school from non- English speaking homes, this responsibility becomes two­ fold for early childhood teachers: to teach children how to learn the English language, and to teach children how to read and write. Earnest-Garcia (2000) noted that there are many terms used to describe children who are learning English as second language, including "bilingual students, English language learners, learners of. English as a second language, second-language learners, and students who are limited-English proficient (LEP)" (p. 813). The children who are entering schools who are not native English speakers have the task of learning to read and write, along with the added pressures of learning English. Second Language Learning Programs and Theoretical Assumptions According to Tabors and Snow (2002) , there are three types of programs that typically serve early childhood classrooms with children who are learning English as a second language. Depending on the school district, these children will be served with one of the following programs. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 48. 32 The first-language classroom is guided by the theory that children need instruction in their first language in order to develop proficiency before learning English. This theory / is supported by the work of Wong-Fillmore (1991) who contended that young children who are placed in English learning settings without continuing to develop their native language may begin to lose the use of their first language. In this type of program, the teacher conducts instruction in the child's native language, therefore giving support to the child by using the language in which they are most comfortable. The bilingual classroom is also guided by the theory that young children need support in their native language. However, in a bilingual classroom, young children receive instruction in both their native language and in English. The bilingual classroom is further broken down by how much English and Spanish is actually used in the classroom. According to the Center for Research on Education, Diversity, and Excellence (CREDE) (2003), 90/10 classrooms are classrooms in which 90% of the instruction is conducted in a language other than English. 50/50 are classrooms in which English is used at least half the time in instruction. The ultimate goal of the bilingual classroom is to continually support and enhance the children's first Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 49. 33 language, while developing skills in the English language. Many researchers have contended that this type of program is most beneficial to children (CREDE, 2003; Cummins, 1991; Gerston & Geva, 2003; Gollnick & Chinn, 2002) . The third type of program is the English-language classroom. Tabors and Snow (2002) noted that this type of classroom is by far the most heavily used in the United States, and would encompass what is commonly known as the ESL classroom. This type of classroom is guided heavily by the theory that young children need to develop English as quickly as possible. This type of program requires children to develop through a sequence of developmental skills: Home language usage, Nonverbal period in the new language, Telegraphic and formulaic language, and Productive use of the new language (Tabors & Snow). These stages are mastered at different rates by different children, and are dependent on a variety of factors. Genesee (1999) noted that this type of program is also based on the theoretical assumption that English language learners should be able to "acquire content knowledge, concepts, and skills at the same time that they improve their English language skills" (p. 13). Gerston and Geva (2003), however, contended that children need to acquire proficiency in their native language in order to have the skills to be able to transfer some of Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 50. 34 those skills to their new knowledge of the English language. Each program type designed to aide second language learners has been guided by theoretical assumptions. Researchers have long acknowledged that second language learners need to learn English in order to efficiently function in today's society, but they have differing viewpoints of how second language learners go about learning English. Cummins (1979) coined the term "mother tongue" referring to the child's native language and the need to be proficient in that language before the child attempted to master a second language. A study by Cummins (1991) found that children's first language proficiency provided a basis for which to transfer new learning. This provides schools with the evidence needed to provide quality instruction in the child's native language before attempting to teach them to read in a second language. In their book Multicultural Education in a Pluralistic Society, Gollnick and Chinn (2002) added that the most important thought on ELL learners was that they must develop proficiency in their native language before they can gain proficiency in a second language. The authors believed that early language acquisition occurred at home, and developed somewhat naturally through the child's Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 51. interaction with friends and family members. These early language experiences were essential in order for children to master a second language. The authors concluded that some of the same skills used in the native language can be utilized in learning the second language. It was noted that if a child's native language development was disrupted before proficiency, several delays and losses in language development might occur. This is important for teachers to be aware of, particularly in today's schools where it is essential to enhance the individual child rather than squandering originality in trade for "Americanism." Drucker (2003) discussed ways that teachers of children learning English could better assist them in the classroom. It was noted that, "...students' second languages can be viewed as an additive to the classroom environment, rather than as a deficit that needs to be remedied" (p. 28). A study by Gersten and Geva (2003) confirmed that children learn phonological skills in their first language that could also apply to English. The authors concluded that even though each language might carry its own phonological characteristics, it was very important to give children the opportunities to manipulate and play with the sounds in their language. This could help children when they were attempting to learn a second language. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 52. Additionally, a longitudinal study by Collier and Thomas (1989) found that children who enter the United States without English proficiency did best in school when they already had developed skills in their native language. Although much research supports the need for students to develop skills in their native language before attempting to learn English, Tabors and Snow (2002) noted that most schools in the United States utilize an English-only type of program, in which students are encouraged to learn English as quickly as possible and without support in their native language. Assessment and Placement of English Language Learners In response to federal legislation, and in particular No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (U.S. Department of Education, 2002), each school district is responsible for identifying the English language learners in their district through approved assessment. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) (2005) has general guidelines for assessing and placing English language learners into programs provided by the district. These approved assessments might include: standardized English language proficiency tests, standardized tests in content areas, or state academic assessments such as rubrics and checklists (Gottlieb, Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 53. 37 2006). According to TEA (2006), each campus must have a Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC) committee which consists of an administrator, bilingual educator, and one parent of a child who is learning English as their second language. This committee is responsible for interpreting assessments of English language learners and making decisions as to the child's placement. Initial identification of English language learners is determined by an assessment known as the Home Language Survey, which is designed to differentiate between children who speak English all the time at home and those children who are in homes where languages other than English are spoken. If the answers on this assessment point to the conclusion that the child speaks any language other than English, the child is further screened. The exact assessments given for further screening are at the discretion of the school district, as long as the assessment is approved by the state. Gottlieb (2006) noted that it is extremely important to assess children in both English as well as their native language to determine strengths and weaknesses in each language. At this time, the LPAC committee will convene to determine what instructional program or placement will best serve the individual child. If the child is recommended for placement Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 54. 38 in an ESL or bilingual program, the parents have the right to make the final decision, which can also include denying placement into the program. A national report by Snow et a l . (1998) found that children whose parents deny services are more likely to develop problems in literacy skills needed for reading success. There are measures used to determine a child's language proficiency before formal placement into a program occurs. According to Duncan and De Avila (1985) the Pre-LAS is an English assessment and assesses general knowledge in English such as the child's ability to follow instructions, recognition of common household items, and story retelling. This test can be administered by the classroom teacher or other approved school personnel. Duncan and De Avila also discussed the Pre-IPT, which is an oral assessment also given in English that is designed to provide a low stress environment for children who are unaccustomed to taking- tests. This assessment gives an accurate reflection of the child's abilities in English and is designed to help schools decide on instructional and program placement for English language learners. Additionally, the Pre-IPT is used to initially designate children's proficiency in English as Non, Limited, or Fluent. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 55. Assessing ELLs has become another one of educations hot topics. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (U.S. Department of Education, 2002) has mandated that all schools assess, place, and meet the needs of ELLs. However, there are so many aspects to consider when assessing students, especially students from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Au (2000) noted that students from diverse backgrounds have to be held to the same high standards as their peers, but they might need additional or more intense instruction based on their needs as a student. Au noted that research has shown that if standards are lowered for children, the students will suffer. In terms of standardized testing, much research has supported that it has negative affects on students from diverse backgrounds. Not only is there an issue with the material being tested, but lower scores may lead these children into classes in which they do not truly belong, a finding that has further been supported by Brown (2004) and Jusenius and Duarte (1982). Further, Au noted that many standardized test are autonomous, or focus on specifics to a particular group of people. From research, it is know that there are vast differences in literacy practices between socioeconomic and ethnicity. For example, students from a Hispanic background may be able to translate material for their parents, Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 56. something that a simple, one-shot test would not have recognized. Au called for a need to further investigate assessments for students from diverse backgrounds, as there are many things to consider when evaluating their performance. Gutierrez-Clellan (2005) contended that children from diverse backgrounds must be assessed using multiple forms of assessment. Most importantly, when assessing linguistically diverse students, assessments should be conducted in both the child's native language and their second language. This will give a more accurate picture of the child's cognitive functioning. Additionally, testing the child in only English might mask some important abilities that the child possesses. Many researchers have also supported using portfolios to assess students from diverse backgrounds, rather than relying on one test (Benson & Smith, 1998; Cook-Benjamin, 2001; Smith, Brewer, & Heffner, 2003) . Portfolios offer an in-depth look at a student's performance and growth over time, rather than a snap-shot of one day, which is what a formal assessment would offer. Teachers can benefit greatly from portfolio assessments. First, portfolios can demonstrate growth in standards. They can also offer anecdotal records of the child's performance, as well as revealing environmental conditions in which a child best Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 57. 41 work occurs. Portfolios can be kept and reflected on over a time period that will allow the teacher to see how and why they are growing. With the growing concern for accountability comes high-stakes testing, posing a serious risk to these children. Teachers must consider every avenue for these children, as well as possible threats to children's success. These learners might be unsuccessful on formal assessments for a variety of reasons, and teachers need to consider this before relying on a single measure of ability. The most effective way to accurately assess a child's learning is to gather multiple forms of evidence including the state and district mandated assessments, as well as informal data that can support their growth and direct future instruction. Instruction for English Language Learners A theoretical piece by Cummins (1986) helped to lay the foundation work for bringing ELL and bilingualism into classrooms by contending that educators can help to empower minority students by respecting and valuing students' home language and culture. In 1982, Jusenius and Duarte's study found that the drop out rate for Hispanic students was 40- 50% as compared to only 14% for Caucasians. These findings Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 58. are concurrent with more recent findings by Laird, Lew, Deball, & Chapman (2006) and TEA (2005), which found that Hispanics were still more likely to drop out of high school compared to their Caucasian peers. Furthermore, Cummins (1986) noted that Mexican-Americans were overrepresented as learning disabled by 300 percent. Because of the overrepresentation of ELLs in special education classes, Cummins proposed an intervention framework. He argued that a change must take place in the school systems in order to accommodate second language learners, appreciate their culture, and respect their home language so that these students might experience success in American schools. He also noted that a majority of the educational difficulties within the language-minority students stemmed from a transition from the language in the home to language in school environments. The opposition facing bilingualism in the early eighties was based on the postulation that children who were not proficient in English will benefit from maximum exposure to English, rather than developing a proficiency in their native language first. In his framework for intervention, Cummins (1986) refuted both positions noting that, "...students from 'dominated' societal groups are 'empowered' or 'disabled' as a direct result of their Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 59. interactions with educators in the school" (p. 21). This claim placed responsibility not solely on language differences between home and school, but on the way that these differences were treated within the school environment. He continued that educators must realize four essential areas where attention is needed. These four areas included adapting school curriculums to incorporate cultural and linguistic differences of all students; encouraging involvement from community members; guiding minority students to develop intrinsic motivation; and encouraging professionals to become advocates for minority students. Moreover, Cummins noted that students who are confident and comfortable with their language and culture are more successful in school than those who experience alienation from their cultural backgrounds. Taking cultural and linguistic backgrounds into account in schools is imperative to empowering minority students and allowing them the chance to be successful in school. Bilingualism is not only about second language learning, but also about embracing cultural differences in an effort to strengthen educational outcomes. Cummins (1986) concluded by stating, "Educators who see their role as adding a second language and cultural affiliation to their students' repertoire are likely to empower students Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 60. 44 more than those who see their role as replacing or subtracting students' primary language and culture" (p. 25) . In addition, Torres (2005) noted that the National Head Start Association supported bilingual programs for children. She contended that Head Start had very clear guidelines addressing language development for children that required a supportive and nurturing environment. The association also has mandated Performance Standards for developing and maintaining a program that celebrates cultural and linguistic differences in children in order to help them develop their own unique identities. In their programs for young children who are learning English as their second language, Head Start strives to ensure that at least one teacher "speak the same language as the majority of the children" (p. 21). Additionally, Gutierrez-Clellan (2005) noted that a dual language assessment approach is necessary to obtain an accurate picture of English language learners' progress in language development. The author added that assessments should be administered in both the child's native language and in English whenever possible. Head Start is a nationally known program that has supported early learning for many years, and its support for encouraging bilingualism, rather than pushing an Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 61. 45 English-only environment, is in accordance with those who support native language proficiency. Although research has shown that children need to develop proficiency in their native language and continue to enhance their first language while learning English (Cummins, 1991; Gerston & Geva, 2003; Gollnick & Chinn, 2002), further and more current research is needed in this area. Classroom Quality and the Development of Literacy Skills Research addressing the impact of the quality of the early childhood environments and later success in literacy has increased dramatically in the past few years (Burchinal et al., 2000; Dickinson & Tabors, 2001; Hart & Risley, 1995; Hemmeter & Kaiser, 1990; McCartney, 1984). Research has begun to give more attention to what a quality classroom should look like, what constitutes a quality environment, and how to accurately measure the quality of the classroom environment. There are several instruments designed to measure the quality of the classroom environment. For this study, the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised Edition (ECERS-R) was chosen to obtain a rating of the quality of the overall environment. This instrument was also chosen based on its Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 62. 46 extensive use in the field of education. The original version of the instrument was developed in 1980, and was designed to obtain an adequate view of the quality of the early childhood classroom. The scale has been widely used. In 1998, the authors (Harms, Clifford, & Cryer, 1998) decided to revise the scale to fit current recommendations and guidelines of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and to take into account children with disabilities and cultural diversity. According to Dickinson and Tabors (2001), a key feature of developmentally appropriate practice is "the separation of learning goals for children into different developmental areas (such as physical, socioemotional, language, cognitive, aesthetic)" (p. 149). The ECERS-R is divided into seven subscales, revolving around these developmental areas for children. Additional instruments designed to measure the quality of the classroom environment include the Assessment Profile for Early Childhood Programs (Abbott-Shim & Sibley, 1998), the Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation (ELLCO ) (Smith & Dickinson, 2002), and the Classroom Observation Scoring System (CLASS) (Pianta & La Paro, 2003b). The Assessment Profile for Early Childhood Programs is a scale that can be used with infants to school age Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 63. 47 children. For each age group, there are specific dimensions that are scored. For the preschool level, the dimensions include safety and health, learning environment, scheduling, curriculum, interacting, and individualizing. For the most accurate results, the authors of this scale recommend that data from three sources be collected: observations, documentations, and conferences with the teachers. The ELLCO consists of checklists to check the availability of literacy material in the classroom, as well as an observational component in which the observer rates the environment based on 14 aspects from the general classroom environment, and language, literacy, and curriculum standards. This instrument also includes a teacher interview as well as an additional rating scale to score the literacy activities that occur in the classroom. This scale takes approximately 1-1% hours to complete. Lastly, the CLASS was developed for use in classrooms from preschool to third grade. The scale was developed based on academic, social, and behavioral outcomes (Pianta & La Paro, 2003b). The scale rates three aspects of the environment: Emotional climate, Classroom management, and Instructional support. The authors of the CLASS noted that Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 64. 48 the scale rates classroom processes, rather than focusing on materials. Recent research in the areas of classroom quality and early learning holds implications for educators, as this sets forward the need to develop environments for young children which will be most conducive to developing the skills that children need for future success. Hart and Risley (1995) undertook a longitudinal study of 1 and 2- year old children, along with their families to gain an in- depth look at what families did to help their childrengain language and vocabulary skills. Their start on this study began in a project called the Turner House Preschool, which was designed for research by applied psychologists. Hart and Risley, who had experience with clinical language intervention, designed a half-day preschool program at the Turner House. Their intervention focused on the everyday language, or spontaneous speech, that the children used. Hart and Risley noted: We wanted the children to know more, but we also wanted to see them apply that knowledge, using language to elicit information and learning opportunities from their teachers in the preschool. We watched what the children were doing to guide what we were doing, (p. 5) Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 65. Extensive records were kept for each child, so that an individual bank of words was compiled for each child. Hart and Risley contended that vocabulary, by definition, included not only the words that a person can understand, but also the words that a person can use. It is a bank of words that an individual "knows." They also noted, "vocabulary continues to grow throughout life, increasing with each gain in experience and understanding" (p. 6). Hart and Risley (1995) extended their work into a Laboratory Preschool, where the majority of the children's parents were professors. This is in stark contrast to the Turner House preschool, where the children were living in poverty. Rather than referring to the children as black or white, the researchers chose to refer to them as children living in poverty and children whose parents were professors to remind them of the critical difference between the two groups: advantages of the professors' children, and disadvantages of those living in poverty. The authors found that children in both preschools talked about much of the same things, however, the difference was actually in how much talk was happening. They noted that the professors' children talked nearly twice as much as those from disadvantaged homes. After the authors made this discovery, they intervened in the Turner House Preschool, Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 66. and encouraged teachers to use more language and spontaneous speech with the children. They found that there was an increase in the amount of talk happening in the Turner House children. Perhaps the most important lesson to be learned from this early study was that the growths in vocabulary were temporary. The children in the Turner House, who received intervention based on what was observed with the advantaged children, benefited only immediately and temporarily from the intervention. This led the authors to theorize that children have unalterable vocabularies by the time they were 4 years of age, and that the knowledge that they came to school with must have come from their home environments. This knowledge drove the authors to a more recent study and the basis for Meaningful Differences'. Meaningful Differences was based on a study that included 42 families who were recruited based on two priorities: a wide range of demographics and stability to maintain them in the study. Hart and Risley (1995) noted that these families were normal, "families who are coping, who are fairly happy, and whose children are reasonably well-behaved and working at grade level in school" (p. xv). Observers were in the families' homes on a regular basis, recording everything that occurred with their child, but avoiding family interaction that did not involve the child. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 67. The researchers noted that over the years, they became very involved and connected to the families, because they spent so much time with them and their children. Preliminary findings indicated that children in higher socioeconomic homes were spoken to more often and with higher vocabulary that those children in lower socioeconomic homes. Hart and Risley (1995) again extended their research, and looked at the accomplishments of the children at three years of age and later. The reason for this step in the research was that the children, up to age three, were very similar in their language usage. In order to analyze this portion of the study, the researchers looked specifically at measures of accomplishment, which they defined as vocabulary growth, usage, and IQ score. These skills, the authors added, were likely to be predictors of how well children performed in language in later years. Vocabulary growth was defined as words that children add to their existing vocabulary, while vocabulary use was defined as the words that children actually used in their settings. The IQ test was administered by a professional psychologist who was not associated with the study. The findings indicated that vocabulary growth and vocabulary use were strongly correlated, and that both growth and use were significantly correlated with IQ score. Additionally, Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 68. vocabulary growth and vocabulary use were correlated with socioeconomic status, but IQ was somewhat less strongly correlated with socioeconomic status. These findings also revealed with very strong correlations, that children's home experiences are related to their later academic accomplishments. The researchers extended this finding to include which home experiences were most beneficial to the children's later accomplishments. The researchers took the features that were closely related to accomplishments were organized into categories that included: Language Diversity, Feedback Tone, Symbolic Emphasis, Guidance Style, and Responsiveness. Hart and Risley (1995) stated that they were amazed when they followed the children from the study into the third grade, because it was found that children's measures of IQ and vocabulary accomplishment at three years of age were strong predictors of language skills. The findings indicated that what families did with the children when they were one or two years of age was very strongly associated with their accomplishments at age eight. Findings such as these indicate that children need rich home experiences before the age of three. Research such as the Hart and Risley study further supports the need for early learning experiences in a quality environment; Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 69. 53 however, further research should examine the amounts and richness of the experiences occurring in the early years of children's education. Although there is tnuch research supporting the need for high quality environments for young children, Burchinal and Cryer (2003) noted that what constitutes quality is often dependent upon cultural backgrounds. The researchers reviewed the findings of two well-known studies, the Cost, Quality, and Outcomes Project (1995), and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care (2000) to determine if a quality environment was conducive to learning in children from diverse backgrounds. The researchers were specifically interested in determining whether learning was enhanced when the childcare provider was of the same ethnicity, and whether "mainstream measures of quality were less predictive of children's outcomes for children of color" (p. 405). The researchers concluded that a high quality environment is a strong predictor of social and cognitive development, as well as later academic success. In addition, the analysis did not support a significant difference when children and care provider's ethnicity differed. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 70. 54 The evidence that early language experiences are crucial for later success in literacy is fairly new. Dickinson and Tabors (2001) contended that when they began their pivotal research, known as the Home-School Study, the idea that children needed early language experiences was a more of an opinion that something that was supported by research. Educators have since learned from research that these early experiences with language in the home and preschools are essential for children's later success with literacy (Dickinson & Tabors, 2001; Hart & Risley, 1995). Dickinson and Tabors (2001) study of 74 young children from low-income homes found that children's skills attained by the end of their kindergarten year were strong predictors of later success in literacy. These skills are attained both in the children's home and preschool environments. The authors continued, "...we have a basis for saying that that the features of home and preschool classrooms that support children's literacy in kindergarten help to pave the way for children's later reading success" (p. 5) . Dickinson and Tabors (2001) began collecting data for the Home-School Study in 1987. The authors present the findings from the study, and make a case for the importance of high quality, early childhood classrooms as predictors Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 71. of later success in literacy. The study included 74 early childhood children from low-income families. The authors wanted to collect rich data that would paint a picture of both the home and school environments that might be conducive of literacy development. The researchers collected data from both the home and school, through observations in the children's natural settings. In the classroom, the researchers collected data in three forms: language data, which included conversations of the children and the teachers; classroom curriculum data, which included information about the curriculum and information obtained from using the ECERS-R; and teacher interview data, which included information obtained from individual interviews with the teachers in each classroom. The researchers also collected data on student outcomes with several assessments, including the PPVT-III to measure the receptive vocabulary of the children. Dickinson and Tabors (2001) contended that aspects of the classroom would greatly depend on teachers' beliefs of pedagogy and responsibilities to the learning environment. If they were truly to understand how the classroom environment affected outcomes, they would also need to look at these aspects of the teachers' belief systems. According to the authors, classroom teachers that follow Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 72. developmentally appropriate practice (Bredekamp, 1987) are more likely to have students with greater gains in literacy development. In a definition offered by Dickinson and Tabors, the philosophical principle guiding developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) is based on the concept that "young children learn best through direct manipulation of objects and ideas in the world and the related notion that the role of the teacher is to construct an environment in which children can independently explore and manipulate objects and ideas" (p. 149). These teachers are also more likely to engage the children in rich language experiences and discourses by being an active part of conversations between the child and teacher. This notion was supported by a study of classroom environment on student outcomes (McCartney, 1984), where it was found that children greatly benefited frpm having engaged conversations with adults. Dickinson and Tabors (2001) used three types of analysis to make sense of the data that was collected during the study. Descriptive analysis was used to analyze the information obtained from the interviews; correlational analysis was used to analyze data which the researchers wanted to know whether there was a significant relationship; and finally, regression analysis was used to analyze the data in which the researchers sought to find a Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 73. predictor for a certain outcome. In this study, regression analysis was used to find out which aspects of the environments predicted results on the assessments. The Home-School Study found that high quality preschool environments are strong predictors of the development of language and literacy skills in young children. The researchers noted, however, that certain aspects of the environment are stronger predictors than others. For example, interactions between teachers and children are essential in the early childhood classroom. The researchers concluded by noting that physical aspects of the environment that are aesthetically pleasing, safe, and friendly are no longer sufficient given the current research supporting the need for educators to provide high quality environments to help children develop the skills that they will need for future academic success. In a case study of a 3-year old child conducted by Hemmeter and Kaiser (1990), preliminary evidence supporting the need for quality literacy environments was presented. The authors found that the child in the study responded to the heightened attention to the environment. According to the suggestions offered by the authors, the environment that would be most conducive to language learning was one that contained both physical and social features. For Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 74. 58 example, young children must be surrounded with settings, materials, and activities in which they directly engaged. As well, children must be in an environment with people and stimuli in order for communication. In this language-rich environment, the caregiver must act as the mediator, ensuring that the environment is arranged in such a way that requires children to verbally request wanted materials and that children respond to the settings. The caregiver also serves as a role-model for young children, allowing them to see and hear modeled language and gestures. In a study conducted by Hemmeter and Kaiser (1990) , it was found that arrangement of a home environment to support language use resulted in higher interactions between the child and the surroundings, thus enhancing the language use of children. It was worth noting that Hemmeter's and Kaiser's study had limitations. For example, only one subject was observed on only two occasions. However, the author was optimistic that an environment arrangement requiring language usage would be highly beneficial in helping children acquire language. Children learn a great deal of language and the functions of language through play experiences (Morrison & Rusher, 1999) . Morrison and Rusher suggested that many of these opportunities could be offered to children by Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 75. creating environments that are both playful and provoke language development. The author also suggested that play could help children develop and enhance some of the skills needed for oral language development such as vocabulary and listening. A practitioner piece by Lawhon (2000) presented a discussion about literacy environments for young children, and noted that preschool children benefited from songs, rhymes, and jingles. Lawhon noted that preschool children loved language and "seem to learn language naturally" (p. 6). Children talked about anything and everything, repeat stories, and mock adult language usage. As well, the author suggested that providing an environment that conveyed a meaning of the importance of literacy helps children learn that literacy was important and valued, and that language learning was an essential component to this life-long process of becoming literate. This message can be conveyed by reading to children and providing a print-rich environment. Using "playful, enjoyable, no-pressure strategies and activities" (p. 9) provided a surrounding that encouraged oral language and helped children understand the importance of language. Additionally, a review of research by Pianta and La Paro (2003a) found that kindergarten classrooms may vary in terms of quality. In reviewing the findings from two major Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 76. research studies, a study of classroom features (NICHD, 2002) and the National Center for Early Development and Learning's Six-State Prekindergarten Study (Bryant, Clifford, Early, Howes, & Pianta, 2002), the authors found that some teachers utilized group learning, while others taught in whole-groups. Some classrooms showed much involvement in learning from the beginning of class, while others showed no involvement in learning for up to a half hour following the start of school. The authors' conclusions from the review indicated that although there was much variability in the quality of the classrooms, each classroom tended to demonstrate a positive social environment. In a longitudinal study of 401 childcare centers which were selected through stratified random sampling with half for-profit and half non-profit, it was found that quality classroom environments contributed to children's language skills from preschool to early elementary. The findings were determined by collecting extensive data on both the quality of the environment and on children's cognitive and developmental outcomes (Cost, Quality, & Outcomes Study, 1995). Further, this study noted that North Carolina had the largest percentage of poor quality early childhood classrooms, as determined by the original version of the Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 77. Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS) (Harms, Clifford, & Cryer, 1980), which was used to measure quality in the study. In response to this study, the North Carolina Early Childhood Initiative, also known as Smart Start, was developed. The Smart Start Initiative was designed to target poor quality schools in North Carolina, and provide funds to increase the quality of the classrooms in selected schools. Currently, there are over 79 partnerships, or organizations designed to improve instruction, receiving funds to improve quality in the classrooms (Smart Start, 2006). A very well-known study that utilized the rating scale was conducted by Bryant, Maxwell, and Burchinal (1999) to determine if Smart Start was improving the quality of early childhood classrooms. The authors studied 180 classrooms over the course of two years. Their findings indicated that there were significant, positive differences in the quality of the early childhood classrooms from 1994 to 1996. An extension of this study also used the ECERS to measure the quality of the early childhood classroom (Buysse, Welley, Bryant, & Gardner, 1999). This study found that there are three other significant predictors of high quality classrooms: teacher education, professional experience, and teacher self-ratihgs of skills and knowledge. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 78. Another study utilized the ECERS in a comparative study between Germany and Sweden. The ECERS was used in conjunction with qualitative documentation of the researchers' perception of the processes that underlie the ratings of quality (Sheridan & Schuster, 2001). Cross­ national comparative studies such as this one help researchers to validate the quality ratings of the ECERS. The qualitative documentation was later analyzed and reconstructed, and gave insight into the country-specific characteristics of a quality childcare environment. Cassidy, Hestenes, Hedge, Hestenes, and Mims (2003) carried out a study using the ECERS-R to determine the possible relationships between aspects on the ECERS-R and teacher experience, education, class sizes, and teacher/child ratios. Data were collected from a large sample of preschool classrooms in North Carolina. There were 1313 classrooms in the study. The researchers completed the ECERS-R in each of the classrooms, and also collected information about teachers such as education and experience in the classrooms. The researchers found that there was a significant correlation between teacher education and the composite ECERS-R scores. Additionally, the authors separated education into 12 categories, and with post hoc tests, found that the differences were in Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 79. high school degrees and all other levels of education. There were no differences between community college degrees and other levels of college, including graduate work and the composite ECERS-R scores. The researchers concluded their results section by noting that the composite ECERS-R scores were correlated with teacher/child ratios, class sizes, and teachers' years of experience, but the correlations were relatively low. The researchers called for future longitudinal research looking specifically at teacher-child interactions in relation to education level. Burchinal et a l . (2000) conducted a study of 89 African American children ages 6-36 months who were attending a center-based child care facility, with the purpose of determining whether the quality of the environment had an impact on their language development longitudinally. Classrooms with children older than two years were assessed using the ECERS. The assessment was administered once a year in the spring for 3 years. The researchers noted that structural quality was rated through observations, and included information about class size, number of adults, and teacher educational attainment. Cognitive abilities of the children were assessed using Bayley Scales of Infant Development (Bayley, 1993) and language abilities were measured using the Sequenced Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 80. Inventory of Communication Development-Revised (Hedrick, Prather, & Tobin, 1984). Both instruments were administered by trained persons. Results from the study indicated that as the age of children increased, so did the quality of their environment. In addition, there was strong correlation between high quality environments and better cognitive development, language development, and skills in communication. Burchinal et al . (2000) found that child- adult ratios were related to children's expressive and receptive language skills. The study found that teacher educational attainment was not significantly related to student outcomes, although children who had teachers with more educational attainment did score slightly higher than children whose teachers had less education. A study by Burchinal, Cryer, Clifford, and Howes (2002) reexamined the relationship between teacher educational attainment and higher quality classrooms. In a study of 553 preschool classrooms which were randomly selected from California, Connecticut, Colorado, and North Carolina, the researchers looked at educational attainment and formal workshops attended by the teachers in the classrooms. In addition, the ECERS-R was utilized to measure the quality of the early childhood environment. These authors found that teachers' educational attainment Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 81. at the baccalaureate level or higher showed a consistent link to higher quality classrooms. Burchinal et al . (2000) concluded that overall the quality of the childcare environment is significantly related to children's developmental growth over time. These are important findings that add to existing support for educators to provide high quality environments to young children. However, the authors suggested further longitudinal studies in order to provide a more consistent link between the quality of the environment and student outcomes. Additionally, La Paro, Pianta, and Stuhlman (2004) conducted a study utilizing the CLASS. The researchers' main concern was the problem of having a definition of classroom quality for the environment, but recent reviews of literature seemed to suggest that the social and instructional aspects of the early childhood classroom were factors in determining quality. Some of the other measures that were designed to measure classroom quality that were presented by La Paro et al. included the ECERS-R, the Assessment Profile, and the Classroom Practices Inventory. The authors noted that the ECERS-R had received much validation in the field of early childhood education, however, they criticized the instrument for not focusing more on the teacher-child aspects of the environment. The Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 82. authors' argument included a concern over publicly funded classrooms rating higher because of the scale's heavy attention to the physical environment. They contended that these classrooms might receive a higher score because they could afford more physical materials for the students. In contrast, the authors contended, "the CLASS focuses on what teachers do with the materials they have and on the interactions they have with children" (p. 412), leading them to their choice of instrument for the presented study. However, five of the subscales from the ECERS-R were also utilized for the study, and correlations were computed after data collection to determine whether a relationship existed between the CLASS and the subscales from the ECERS- R. The authors found that there was a relationship between the two scales, although stronger in some areas. The results of this study indicated that on average, classrooms were very mixed in terms of quality. These findings support earlier research suggesting that early childhood classrooms vary in terms of quality (Pianta & La Paro, 2003a). In addition, the researchers found that very little negativity existed in the classrooms. Studies that utilize a variety of instruments such as this study can help researchers in deciding which instrument might best fit their needs. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 83. In one of the few international studies utilizing the original version of the ECERS, it was noted that the scale was approved for use in Chile based on its high internal consistency and validity. In the study, Herrera, Mathiesen, Merino, and Recart (2005) randomly chose 12 0 preschool classrooms in Chile, with the purpose of determining whether there was a significant relationship between the quality of the environment and students' vocabulary growth as measured by a vocabulary test in Spanish (Echevarria, Herrera, & Vega, 1993). The researchers used the Infant and Toddler Environment Rating Scale (ITERS) (Harms, Cryer, & Clifford, 1990), the ECERS, and School-Age Care Environment Rating Scale (SACERS) (Harms, Jacobs, & White, 1996) to measure the classroom environment. The study found that as children increase in age, the quality of the classroom tends to decrease, contrary to the findings of Burchinal et a l . (2000) . In addition, the researchers found that there was a significant relationship between the quality of the environment and student outcomes, and that these effects were sustained even as the children entered their primary school years. Espinosa (2002) described what a high-quality preschool classroom should look like, and why educators need to be aware of the need for having quality Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 84. environments for young children. In her review of the existing literature, Espinosa found that fewer than half of the programs that were measured using the widely acceptable ECERS scored in the "good" or "excellent" range. In this rating scale, a score of 1 can be understood as "inadequate" and a score of 7 can be understood as "excellent," with the between numbers ranging from "minimal" to "good." One of the largest issues in providing quality experiences includes having a common definition of quality. Espinosa used two terms to define quality. She contended that process quality included "the actual experiences that occur in educational settings" (p. 2). This type of quality is most often measured through observations. The ECERS is a common rating scale used to measure process quality, where the environment is rated on various dimensions of the programs. The author also used the term structural quality to define quality. In this aspect, the researcher would look at class size, teacher- child ratios, building facilities, and teacher qualifications to name a few. "The structural features of a program are thought to contribute to quality in more indirect ways than process features" (p. 3). Structural features are also more influenced by state and federal regulations. Espinosa noted that these two aspects of a Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 85. 69 program are essential to determining the quality of an early childhood environment, and they offer a starting place for researchers to begin to look more in depth into the quality of programs. Espinosa (2002) reviewed several studies that utilized the ECERS across the country. None of these studies revealed an average ECERS score of above 5.0. Based on this review of the existing literature, the author recommended some basic elements that schools could offer children in order to improve their quality. These recommendations included ongoing opportunities for children to learn and expand their knowledge, experiences that will capitalize on children's natural curiosity, and offering varieties in children's everyday school experiences. For teachers, the author recommended a minimum four year degree from an accredited university, ongoing staff development, collaborative relationships with everyone involved in children's learning, and providing a spacious room that is well-equipped. Research has shown that structural language was directly related to reading, presuming that oral language helps children derive meaning from print and learn grammatical rules of written language (Liberman, 1983). A study by Roth, Speece, and Cooper (2002) found that "oral Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 86. language ability contributes to early reading skills in ways other than through the influence of phonological awareness" (p. 263). Storch and Whitehurst (2002) found that oral language and early reading skills such as letter recognition, phonemic awareness, and vocabulary were strongly related during the preschool years. This placed a responsibility on educators to develop and enhance language skills, as those skills would ultimately help the child acquire reading skills. Minkel (2002) described an early intervention program that included an idea for reaching out to parents who might not be aware of the importance of early language learning. Minkel recognized that parents might view learning as the sole responsibility of the school. In truth, parents could really help their children, develop early literacy skills by singing, chanting, playing, and teaching simple concepts such as up and down. "It's Never Too Early," a program launched in Maryland, was developed to reach out and educate parents and caregivers about providing adequate language opportunities before their children entered preschool. The author noted: Children from birth on need to hear stories and play with words. They need to chant, rhyme, and sing... children need to be exposed to language, and lots of Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 87. it. And they need to receive that exposure before they enter kindergarten, (p. 38) The program was developed by concerned school officials in collaboration with librarians with the common thought that, "too many childcare programs in private homes and church basements allow toddlers and other youngsters to sit idly in front of the TV all day" (p. 38), when these situations can be taken advantage of, and used to enhance the oral language development of children. Minkel (2002) also suggested that children be exposed to more than one language. According to the author, this would help children to become familiar with the various phonemes that they will encounter in learning a language. In addition, a review of research by Ginsborg and Locke (2002) found that it was widely recognized that children "who are slow to develop spoken language are likely to be slow to develop written language" (p. 20). According to the review, children who enter school behind seldom tend to catch up. The gap seems to widen instead of closing. From the authors' perspectives, this was due to insufficient exposure to spoken language. The authors also reported that children from low-socio-economic backgrounds were more likely to experience delays in learning to read and write because they were often slower to develop spoken language, based on Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 88. a variety of reasons, but predominantly because of limited exposures and opportunities to use spoken language. This added a new responsibility for preschool teachers, as language learning lays the foundation for literacy, which required the involvement of everyone in the young child's life. Further research is needed to understand the quality of the childhood learning environment and language acquisition, and specifically certain aspects of the environment that could prove beneficial to learning language. More researchers have turned their attention towards the importance of classroom environments for young children, and research such as this is essential. For example, policy makers must realize that schools need funding in order to provide these high quality environments, and school administrators must realize that teachers need training in providing high quality classrooms. Lastly, teachers must ultimately be concerned with furthering their knowledge of the current research and seek guidance to ensure that the children in their classroom are getting the best education. Although many studies are beginning to emerge on the topic of early childhood classroom environments, further research is Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 89. 73 needed in the area of classroom environments and student outcomes. Qualities of Early Childhood, ELL classrooms In a discussion of early literacy by Rodriguez- Valladares (2003), it was noted that almost one in five children in the United States was Latino, and of those five, three are living below the poverty line. The author contended that many minority children in the United States were not afforded the privileges of preschool and were therefore well behind their peers when they entered school, particularly if they did not speak English. As well, many Latino parents did not realize the need for early learning experiences and did not understand the importance of getting a "head start" on learning a second language. Research has shown that early learning experiences are essential in learning a second language (Hudson & Smith, 2001; Liberman, 1983; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998). A study by Riojas-Cortez (2001) found that teachers can learn a great deal about the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of young children through observations during sociodramatic play episodes. The author found that by watching children in the natural act of playing, they could gain insights into the values that children learn from Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 90. their cultural upbringing, and they could use what they learn to enhance the curriculum in the ELL classroom while appreciating and valuing the children's culture and language. The author found that culture is often displayed during sociodramatic play episode, and that teachers could help facilitate an environment that is conducive to this type of play. As well as enhancing the physical appearance of the ELL classroom, it was also necessary for teachers to move past thinking of cultural appreciation as artifacts such as food, decorations, and flags. As a teacher in a small, South Texas town, the author noted: ... I often felt at odds with the school district's notion of cultural relevancy. Since the school's population was 99% Mexican American, some of the administrators' notions of cultural relevancy referred to artifacts such as paper flowers, papel picado, mariachi hats, maracas, Mexican flags, pinatas, and sarapes in order to reflect the children's culture. (p. 35) While Riojas-Cortez (2001) admitted that she agreed with displaying artifacts that reflected her and her students' cultural backgrounds, it was essential that teachers take it a step further and actually investigate the culture, including language and values within that Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 91. 75 culture. This includes providing a classroom environment that is conducive to sociodramatic play. It is then that teachers can truly show an appreciation and understanding of each child's background and help educate the child with a deeper understanding of how they can best learn language and literacy skills. Teachers, Pedagogical Beliefs, and Teaching Methods At the foundation of all learning is a qualified teacher who is trained and knows how to effectively handle situations in the classroom. In order to provide the best instruction to ELLs, teacher education programs must first provide effective instruction to pre-service teachers (Pappamihiel, 2004). According to Hudson and Smith (2001) 60% of Hispanic fourth graders who were learning English as their second language were reading below grade level, suggesting that U.S. schools were not meeting the needs of Spanish-speaking students. The Texas Education Agency (2005) reported that 95% of Caucasian children met the state standard on the mandated state test, but only 85% of Hispanic children met the standard on the same test. Also, the OELA (2002) estimated that only 22.7% of ELLs were receiving instruction in their native language as a support system for new learning. In this report, it was noted that Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 92. 76 incorporating the native language into instruction was done mostly in the primary grades. Although there are several theoretical assumptions about teaching ELLs, many researchers are supportive of children developing proficiency in their native language before moving to instruction in English (Cummins, 1991; Gerston & Geva, 2003; Gollnick & Chinn, 2002). In order to meet this need, schools must provide instruction by trained teachers in students' native languages as well as English. In a practitioner piece by Hudson and Smith (2001) suggested that teachers create a learning environment in which students could transfer their skills from their native language to English. Some ways to achieve this may include rereading familiar stories, language experiences, and keeping running records for documentation. The authors added, "Young children whose first language is not English and who are not proficient readers are not getting the type and quality instruction they need in the language in which they need it" (p. 36). Mora and Grisham (2001) looked at preservice courses geared for preparing teachers to work with language minority students. The study was a qualitative study about 27 preservice teachers. The study indicated that teacher candidates revealed a higher level of confidence in Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 93. teaching second language learners after undergoing a course explicitly addressed strategies to help ELLs. The authors noted that these type of courses should be a necessary part of every teacher preparation program. Research in this area is important for universities to utilize as it lends evidence as to what types of courses work to teach ELLs. Essentially, teachers need special training to be capable of working with ELL students. If universities are aware of the current research, they can provide the latest instruction to ensure the children in the schools are ultimately receiving the best possible teaching by qualified teachers. Based on the belief that teacher preparation for teaching second language learners needs improvement, Grant and Wong (2003) • argued that university teacher education programs need to include courses in teacher preparation that will specifically address the needs of minority language learners, offer seminars on the topic, and "become strong advocates for biliteracy" (p. 391). These suggestions were given in hope that teacher education programs would begin to prepare teachers for the rapidly changing world of education and better prepare them to meet the needs of second-language learners. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 94. Recently, research has begun to look at the effects of teachers' pedagogical beliefs on their teaching practices (Cassidy, Buell, Pugh-Hoese, & Russell, 1995; Cassidy & Lawrence, 2000; Dickinson & Tabors, 2001; Rimm-Kaufman, Storm, Sawyer, Pianta, & La Paro, 2006; Schon, 1983; Williams, 1996). The existing research concurred that teachers' pedagogical beliefs do not necessarily directly impact their teaching practices; rather, their belief systems provide "a framework that organize meaning and inform practices" (Rimm-Kaufman et al ., 2006, p. 142). For example, Cassidy and Lawrence (2000) conducted a study of 12 preschool teachers selected from three childcare centers in a large city. The study investigated teachers' beliefs and rationales behind their teaching activities by interviewing them while watching a previously recorded tape of their classroom. The researchers found that teachers focused mainly on socio-emotional and cognitive development, and that teachers with a bachelor's degree were more likely to provide rationales that focused on cognitive development than were teachers with less education. Surprisingly, very few teachers cited language development as a rationale for activities in their classroom, although this is a huge focus in early childhood education. Also very interesting were the teachers' Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 95. inabilities to provide an influence to support their rationale for activities in their classrooms. Cassidy and Lawrence concurred with Schon's (1983) contention that some teachers do not reflect on their practices, resulting in an inability to communicate why they have provided certain activities for the children. Dickinson and Tabors (2001) also interviewed teachers in a study to link pedagogical beliefs to practice. The findings from this study indicated that teachers focused on social aspects, pre-academic skills, language and book use, and integrating curriculum. The data from this study also indicated that although certain aspects of beliefs and attitudes seem to play an integral part in children's development, there was no single variable that accounted for much of it. Although many researchers have undertaken the task to try to relate teachers' beliefs with teaching practices, many have found that no such relationship exists. Importantly, however, was that the studies called for future research to examine the teachers' pedagogical beliefs and the quality of their teaching practices and overall classroom quality. There are numerous researched strategies implemented by teachers in the ELL classroom, and as with any instruction, success will ultimately depend upon the individual child. In a discussion of English learners, Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 96. Drucker (2003) noted, "Students learn to read well when they are engaged in reading materials that are not only at an appropriate level but also interesting and relevant to them" (p. 28). A study by Gersten and Geva (2003) has shown that there were certain strategies and teaching styles that could enhance the success of ELL students. The researchers observed primary grade classrooms with the goal to "link specific instructional strategies to reading growth among English learners" (p. 45). Findings showed that teachers of ELL students who were most successful demonstrated superior teaching skills, tending to the child's individual needs. Successful strategies included writing activities that embedded phonological awareness and extensive (but interactive) vocabulary development. During the observations, it was noted that teachers "did not stress proper grammar and syntax" (p. 45), but instead rephrased the child's attempts in order to include his thoughts in the lesson. Teachers made lessons short and direct, and they ensured that the children were actively involved in their own learning. The researchers supported this positive environment by using words such as lively and interactive to describe some of the instructional strategies seen during the study. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 97. Vocabulary Development Vocabulary development in the primary grades has been extensively researched and has become the topic of some controversy as research seek the most effective ways to teach vocabulary to children. Most are in agreement that vocabulary instruction can take many forms. However, Biemiller (2006) reported that many studies do not focus on vocabulary development before the mid-to-late primary grades, as this is when the effects of low vocabulary become evident because children's reading materials began to increase in difficulty and require higher level vocabularies for comprehension. The topic of vocabulary development in the preschool years is somewhat less evident, although there are several studies focusing on the importance of early vocabulary instruction. Vocabulary development in young children is essential to their future academic success, especially in literacy as it is a major predictor of reading comprehension (Biemiller, 2006; & Storch & Whitehurst, 2002). Biemiller (2006) reported that children learn between 4,000 and 6,000 words by the time they reach the second grade, concurring with a study by Nagy and Scott (2000) . The majority of the vocabulary that young children know is based on learning experiences at home, before they ever enter a formal school Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 98. setting. This vocabulary is acquired through informal exposures and experiences. Biemiller has termed the period before children begin reading texts with challenging vocabulary the pre-literate period in a child's life. It is during this preliterate period that children develop problems with their vocabulary growth, creating a gap that is often difficult to remediate. Snow et a l . (1998) supported the idea that educators should begin to look at preventative measures rather than trying to remediate problems after they develop. This requires providing high quality environments that are rich in literacy and language. Children who have such early experiences were more likely to experience success in vocabulary development, thus improving reading success (Snow et al., 1998). A study by Cunningham and Stanovich (1997) concluded that children's vocabulary strengths in the primary grades were strong predictors of reading success in high school, again pointing to the need for early vocabulary development. Storch and Whitehurst (2002) found that code­ related precursors such as letter recognition, phonemic awareness, word meanings, and comprehension were strongly related to oral language development in young children. The researchers concluded that educators should focus on Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 99. developing code-related precursors in order to prepare students to be successful readers in the future, once again stressing the importance of early instruction. Other studies have supported the notion that vocabulary development of young children begin with basic literacy skills such as word identification, morphological awareness, and simple dictionary skills (Biemiller, 2006; McBride-Chang, Wagner, Muse, & Shu, 2005). McBride-Chang et al. found that in particular, morphological structural awareness and morpheme identification were strong predictors of vocabulary growth in children from kindergarten to second grade. These skills can be used throughout life, but vocabulary development requires continuing support from the teacher. Biemiller concluded that early instruction in vocabulary development should consist of a variety of strategies, including direct explanations of new words and conversations about words encountered. Perhaps most importantly, as research studies concluded, is the development of root words (Biemiller, 2006; Biemiller & Slonim, 2001). One of the main issues concerning vocabulary instruction is the intense complexity of the subject. Nagy and Scott (2000) noted that there were five aspects of this complexity of word knowledge. These aspects included Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 100. incrementality, multidimensionality, polysemy, interrelatedness, and heterogeneity. This is important for teachers to know, as the traditional ways of teaching vocabulary do not take this complexity into account. Providing word lists and having children look up meanings in the dictionary does not teach children how to make the connections that are needed to fully understand the words. In addition, instruction like this does not teach how to utilize vocabulary skills, but rather teaches them to merely find the answers. In an age where educators are often torn between wanting students to think and be able to find answers for themselves, and having the pressures of the state mandated tests, attention turns to effective vocabulary instruction. Although there is some disagreement on how many words should be taught to children and how to best teach vocabulary, several researchers are in agreement that vocabulary instruction should begin very early in children's life at home or in a quality early childhood environment (Biemiller, 2006; Biemiller & Boote, 2006; Biemiller & Slonim, 2001; Cunningham & Stanovich, 1997; Storch & Whitehurst, 2002). Cunningham and Stanovich revisited 11th graders who were initially administered reading tasks in first grade, 10 years earlier. The results Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 101. 85 of their study indicated that reading abilities in first grade were strong predictors of reading success in the 11th grade. Nagy and Scott (2000) argued that students have to utilize metalinguistic skills as they move into effective word learning. Nagy and Scott contended that in order for students to really understand words and use skills to figure out word meanings, they needed to "reflect on and manipulate the structural features of the written language" (p. 274). The notion of students using metalinguistic skills to learn new words concurs with conclusions from Snow et a l . (1998), who reported that skilled readers process information on two levels: first, the reader uses a literal level construction of meaning; secondly, the reader relies on a metacognitive understanding of the text, where they are conscious of what they are reading, and why they are reading. It is important to understand the complexity of vocabulary and comprehension relationships because reading material, even juvenile books, often contain much higher level vocabularies than readers are accustomed to seeing or • hearing in everyday communications (Rasinski & Padak, 2004; Snow et al ., 1998). Snow et al ., however, noted that the relationship between comprehension and vocabulary depended Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 102. largely on what type of instruction the readers had received in word learning. For example, children will not show improvements in comprehension if the vocabulary instruction focused explicitly on definitional knowledge of words. Instead, vocabulary instruction must teach words in context, while making meaningful connections to children's lives. This, in part, can be accomplished through the vast collection of research-based strategies available to teachers. Making connections with children's lives is a common theme across the reading field. Everything that teachers do in the classroom should be aimed at making a meaningful connection, something that the child can relate. This idea is based on Schema Theory, presented by Anderson (1994) in the fourth edition of Theoretical Models and Processes of Reading. This theory presented the idea that readers have existing compartments of information that helps the reader to understand new text, by giving them something to connect the new to the old. Anderson added, "the click of comprehension occurs only when the reader evolves a schema that explains the whole message" (p. 473). Pressley (2000) noted that readers must have schema before comprehension can occur. Children must have prior knowledge before they can truly understand what they are reading. This holds huge Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 103. 87 implications for teachers, as so many of the children entering schools are from disadvantaged homes, and may not have the experiences needed to give them the background. In addition, children from diverse backgrounds may lack the cultural familiarity needed to develop schema. It is now a teacher's responsibility to provide experiences, to take children on virtual or real trips, and to take them to adventurous places through reading. Pressley (2000) suggested several implications for instruction. First, teachers need to assess background, and build background knowledge when necessary, keeping in mind that children must have schema before comprehension can occur. Secondly, Pressley urged teachers to incorporate what children already know with their lessons, making it familiar to them. Finally, he calls for further research, specifically in the area of culturally diverse students and their responses to readings. Vocabulary Development and English Language Learners The National Reading Panel (2000) proposed five elements that contribute to reading success in English- proficient students: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency. According to those Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 104. who supported native language proficiency, the skills that English-proficient students needed were similar to the skills that English language learners will need (Fitzgerald, 1995; Gersten & Geva, 2003; Wong-Fillmore, 1991). In a review of research, Folse (2004) noted that vocabulary was one of the most important skills in second language learning. However, many second language programs underestimate the importance of vocabulary, and instead, put priority on other aspects such as grammar. Wilkins (1972) emphasized the power of vocabulary in second language learning by noting, "While without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed" (p. 111). A study of 61 Head Start teachers by Dickinson, McCabe, and Clark-Chiarelli (2004) found that the teachers less than 1% of their time to talking about language or vocabulary words, although it is important to note that 71% of the teachers in this study had less than a bachelor's degree. Dickinson et al . noted that this supported the theory that children from lower socioeconomic homes are exposed to limited amounts and quality of vocabulary, and suggested that teachers need to receive more support in the form of professional development that will help them deliver high quality environment and needs to the children. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 105. 89 This also holds implications for teachers of English language learners, and points to the importance of vocabulary development in children learning English as a second language. Limited research on the vocabulary development of English language learners exists (August, Carlo, Dressier & Snow, 2005) . However, in a 3-year longitudinal study by McLaughlin, August, & Snow (2000), it was found that fourth- and fifth-grade English language learners rely more on vocabulary knowledge when reading than do their native English speaking peers. McLaughlin et al. suggested that native English speakers relied more heavily on background knowledge and inferential skills, but that English language learners must have a strong vocabulary in order to be successful in reading. Thus, vocabulary continues to be an important factor in literacy success across the grades. Concurrently, studies have suggested that vocabulary was the most important skill that second language learners need (Folse, 2004; Haynes & Baker, 1993; Laufer & Sim, 1985). Additionally, a study by Verhallen and Schoonen (1993) found that vocabulary delays in bilingual children were not limited to breadth, but also included depth. The authors found that bilingual children who experienced delays in vocabulary were often delayed in both the number Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 106. of words that they knew, and also in the range of the words that they knew. This was supported by August et al . (2005) in their recent review of literature. In addition, August et al. presented research supporting vocabulary development in ELLs. For example, cognates, or words that are orthographically and semantically similar in both languages can be used to stimulate transfer in students learning English as their second language. In addition, August et al. suggested using various strategies that require students to predict, learn, and apply word meanings. As with others, (Baumann & Kame'enui, 2004; Folse, 2004) they also suggested that vocabulary words be taught in context, and that students be encouraged to use the newly learned words in meaningful ways. In conclusion, August et al... noted that educators can take advantage of the child's first language, teach basic words first, and finally, teachers should consistently review words and reinforce concepts. This review of literature by August et al. provided evidence that little research exists on the topic of vocabulary and ELLs, and pointed to the need for further research in this area. The American Educational Research Association (AERA) (2004) noted that previous policies to aid young children learning English as a second language aimed to immerse them Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 107. 91 in an English-only environment, giving little or no attention to the child's native language. Since then, studies (Cummins, 1979; 1991; Gollnick & Chinn, 2002) have found that children's proficiency in their native language can give them skills that they will need in order to acquire a second language. Children will transfer skills that they have learned in their native language when learning English (Hudson & Smith, 2001). On the topic of reading, English language learners face more challenges than just learning the language. Children must learn two aspects of reading: word recognition and comprehension. According to a research review by AERA (2004), young children who enter school with limited English proficiency can be recognizing words and learn to spell with similar accuracy as their English speaking peers in just two years. AERA recommended several ways to enhance this: phonological awareness, practice reading, frequent assessment and support. This research presented supported the notion that children who enter school with limited English proficiency can catch up to their peers in word recognition and spelling skills with systematic teaching approaches. Comprehension, however, is a different and much more complex process that English learners must develop. AERA Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 108. (2004) contended that understanding written text depends greatly on developing proficiency in the English language. There is a vast difference between conversational language and academic language (Wong-Fillmore & Snow, 2002). Many educators may think that children have reached proficiency by listening to the children talk to one another, when they may struggle with higher levels needed for comprehension of written texts. In a review of research, AERA. (2004) delved into the subject of vocabulary development of English language learners, as a large vocabulary is needed in order for these children to develop the skills necessary for academic language. AERA found that children who speak English as their native language typically enter preschool or kindergarten with 5,000 to 7,000 words. In order to expand and enhance second language learners' vocabularies, teachers must encourage students to use words that they encounter within academic language in meaningful and interesting contexts. In addition, many strategies can aid children in learning new vocabulary words. Activating prior knowledge can also help these children learn new words that they will need for comprehension of texts. Teachers must move away from asking students to memorize word lists or look up definitions in the dictionary, as these approaches Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 109. 93 do not lean themselves to long term memory. Above all, AERA found that discussions of texts are essential for helping children develop vocabulary skills. Teachers of children who are learning English as a second language must act as a facilitator of lessons and conversations that will allow these kids to enhance their vocabulary banks. Children who are learning English as their second language need the best teaching practices possible, just as all children. However, teachers have the added pressure of teaching children who do not yet possess proficiency in English. Systematic teaching approaches can help preschool children develop skills in word recognition, spelling, and vocabulary that they so desperately need in order to succeed in academic languages. Summary The demographic makeup of the United States is changing quickly, inevitably leading to changing student populations. Texas currently has the second largest public school enrollment of children learning English as their second language, topped only by California. Researchers have begun to focus on how schools can best meet the needs of ELLs, and schools have had to adjust their assessments and programs in order to meet the needs of all students. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 110. 94 Additionally, research has also begun to shift focuses toward the importance of classroom quality to student development and academic success, particularly in literacy. There are three major program types designed to serve ELLs in public schools. The first language program classroom consists of instruction in the child's native language. This type of program is guided by the idea that children must develop full proficiency in their native language before trying to learn a second language. This program is supported by many researchers, but most notably by the work of Wong-Fillmore (1991). The bilingual program classroom also supports the idea that children need to develop proficiency in their native. However, in this type of a program, children are using both their native language and English, with the idea that children can continue to develop and enhance their first language while learning English. This type of a program can further be broken into 90/10 classrooms or 50/50 classrooms: 90/10 classrooms teach 90% in the child's native language and 10% in English, and 50/50 classrooms teach 50% in the child's native language and 50% in English. Finally, the English- language classroom is guided by the theory that children need to gain knowledge of English as soon as possible. Although this contradicts many researchers' beliefs that Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 111. 95 children need to develop proficiency in their native language first (Cummins, 1991; Gerston & Geva, 2003; Wong- Fillmore, 1991), this is the most common type of program in the United States. This type of program would encompass what is known as the ESL classroom. There are numerous ways to assess ELLs, but schools must step up to the responsibility of assessing and placing ELLs into the appropriate and most effective program. The LPAC is assigned by each campus and is responsible for gathering data and deciding future instruction for each individual child. This is done after a thorough screening, beginning with the Home Language Survey and followed up with additional screenings. There are many controversies surrounding the assessment of ELLs, many of which focus on the biases of the testing instruments. Although schools are at the mercy of the state to administer approved assessments, there are also additional ways to-assess and document students' abilities and progress. The bottom line in assessing all students is to rely on multiple forms of assessment to obtain an overall picture of the child's strengths and weaknesses. These multiple forms of assessment can be instrumental in deciding instructional goals for children. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 112. Additionally, all children deserve a quality environment in which to learn. Recent research has begun to focus on the importance of providing children high quality experiences in preschool. According to many studies, quality experiences before children enter kindergarten are instrumental in setting the foundation for future academic success (Burchinal et al ., 2000; Dickinson & Tabors, 2001; Hart & Risley, 1995). There are several researched instruments designed to measure the quality of the early childhood classroom environment. The ECERS-R, Assessment Profile, ELLCO, CLASS, and are all measures that can accurately measure the quality of the classroom. The instruments are based on standards set by the NAEYC and measure several aspects of the classroom including physical arrangement, teacher/child interactions, academic activities, and parental involvement. Because providing high quality environments for young children has been found to have an impact of their literacy development, this should be of particular interest to early childhood teachers, as young children need exposure to literacy and language in their everyday lives. Hart and Risley (1995) noted that children need to be exposed to both physical and social features in a classroom that can help them develop both motor skills as well as social skills. Mainly, Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 113. 97 children need to learn language and literacy skills and they need to the opportunities to use the skills in meaningful situations. Further, teachers of children who are learning English as their second language have an additional responsibility. Not only do these children need to learn how to read and write, but they are also trying to learn the English language. The importance of a high quality classroom becomes even more important for these children, as they need more support than their English speaking peers. In developing a quality classroom environment, teachers must be educated in how young children learn. In studies by Schon (1983) and Cassidy and Lawrence (2000), it was found that teachers are unable to articulate or rationalize how their rooms are arranged and why they are providing certain activities. However, teachers with at least a bachelor's degree were able to provide more rationales focusing on cognitive development than teachers with less education. These authors concluded that teachers of young children should have at least a bachelor's degree before schools can expect them to provide high quality environments to the children. Children need to develop many skills in order to become successful readers. These skills include phonemic Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 114. awareness, morphological awareness, and vocabulary. Vocabulary development is one of the five essential components of reading presented by the National Reading Panel (2000) . Researchers have found that early vocabulary acquisition is a strong predictor of later reading success (Biemiller, 2006; Cunningham Sc Stanovich, 1997) . Further, many studies have concluded that vocabulary is the single most important skill for ELLs (Folse, 2004; Haynes Sc Baker, 1993; Laufer Sc Sim, 1995). Vocabulary development in young children is essential, and most of the vocabulary that young children know is acquired at home during informal experiences. However, preschool children should also be learning words at school, with the teacher using various strategies to introduce and develop understandings of the words. At the preschool level, this can include reading stories to the children followed by discussions of new words, word walls, and conversations. Although there are many disagreements on how to best teach vocabulary, research is in consensus that words should be taught in context, through meaningful situations for the children to fully develop an understanding of the words. For children who are learning English as their second language, this is even more important. Research has shown that ELLs need to Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 115. 99 develop both a breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge (Verhallen & Schoonen, 1993). Research has shown the need for educators to take a more active stance in the education of ELL students. Teachers wear many hats in the classroom, and with the diverse population that is growing daily, educators must be aware of the current research findings in order to best meet the needs of all students. On the same note, educators must be aware of the benefits that providing a high-quality environment can offer to students. Many studies have shown that children must have a classroom environment that is conducive to language and literacy learning, and early childhood, ELL classrooms must meet the needs of the children who are in the process of acquiring English and learning language and literacy skills. Language development is a complex process that requires a supportive environment and knowledgeable teachers. Children who are learning English as a second language have the task of acquiring language that is foreign to them. By understanding how young children acquire language and how ELL children acquire language, educators can tailor instruction for the individual child to best enhance their learning. By realizing that certain environments will prove advantageous for ELL children and their language acquisition, schools Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 116. and families can work together to provide an atmosphere that will best enable these children to learn and develop language. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 117. CHAPTER 3 METHODS AND PROCEDURES This chapter describes the methods and procedures used to explore the relationship of the early childhood classroom environment and receptive vocabulary development of young children learning English as their second language. The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale- Revised Edition (ECERS-R) was utilized to measure the quality of the early childhood classroom environment. In addition, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Third Edition (PPVT-III) was utilized to measure the receptive vocabulary of children learning English as their second language. Demographic forms developed by the researcher were collected from selected teachers and students. Further, teacher interviews were conducted to elicit information about the selected teachers' educational beliefs and instructional practices. The scores from the ECERS-R and the PPVT-III were analyzed for a possible relationship. Subscales from the ECERS-R (i.e ., Space and Furnishings, Personal Care Routines, Language-Reasoning, Activities, Interactions, Program Structure, and Parents and Staff) were analyzed to determine the correlation of the subscales with receptive vocabulary development. Further, an analysis was run to 101 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 118. 102 investigate changes in receptive vocabulary scores over the academic school year. Lastly, the teacher interviews were coded on an ongoing basis to search for emerging themes in the data. Information on the setting and participants, as well as a rationalization for the procedures utilized for this study will be described in detail in the following sections. Finally, the methods selected for the data analyses will be described. Design of the Study The present investigation was a mixed design, pre/post study. The quantitative portion of the study included data collected with the ECERS-R and the PPVT-III, as well as data collected from demographic forms completed by selected teachers and children. The qualitative data were collected with semi structured, open-ended individual interviews with the selected teachers. Quantitative data were analyzed with correlations, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), and t tests. Qualitative data were analyzed by transcribing and searching for emerging themes in the data. Preliminary data were collected with the ECERS-R, PPVT-III, and teacher and student demographic forms. Individual teacher interviews Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 119. 103 were also collected during the preliminary data phase. Post data were collected with the ECERS-R and the PPVT-III. Procedures The superintendent of M t . Pleasant Independent School District granted permission to conduct the study on the condition that the results from the study would be shared with the principal of the selected school. The superintendent provided a formal letter of approval to conduct the study (see Appendix A)'. The researcher prepared a formal protocol and submitted it to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Texas A & M University-Commerce to request permission to conduct the present study. Along with the IRB, formal letters of consent for teachers and students were developed by the researcher and submitted for approval. The IRB granted permission to conduct the study via a formal letter (see Appendix B ) . During the fall 2005 semester, the principal at the selected school was contacted for permission. She also provided a formal letter of approval (see Appendix C) . The principal of the school took the responsibility of sending and gathering letters of consent from each teacher at the center (see Appendix D ) . In addition, the principal of the school also sent letters home to parents explaining the Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 120. study and requesting a letter of consent (see Appendix E ) . All letters and consent forms stated that participation in the study was voluntary, and each individual had a right to refuse to participate or withdrawal at any time. The principal of the school collected the demographic forms on each teacher in the school (see Appendix F) . The principal was involved in this stage of the data collection because of her familiarity with the staff and parents. Demographic data on the selected students were obtained by the researcher from the attendance coordinator of the school for the present study. Demographic data for selected students included gender, ethnicity, birth date, and home language. Setting and Participants The site for this study was a child development center in small, public school district in Texas. This small community in which this child development center is located had an estimated population of 15,000 people. Approximately 42% of the population is Anglo, 41% is Hispanic, 16% is African American, and 1% is Native American. The median income for a household is approximately $29,000, and approximately 21% of the population lives below the poverty line. The entire school district serves a total of 5,231 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 121. students. Table 1 provides information about the ethnicity of the children enrolled in the child development center. Table 1 Distribution of Students Enrolled in the Child Development Center by Ethnicity Ethnicity N Percentage Hispanic 385 65.90 African American 102 17.40 Caucasian 96 16.40 Other 3 .30 Total 586 100.00 Demographic data were provided by the superintendent of the school district. The child development center housed 586 students in 25 classrooms of Head Start and Pre- Kindergarten students. The child development center was located in its own building. The present study was delimited to classrooms with 4-year-olds. Children's ages ranged from 4.0-5.6. The children selected for participation in this study ranged in age from 4.2-5.5 years. There were 286 children enrolled in the 4 -year-old classrooms with the average class size being 19. The child Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 122. 106 development center housed both Head Start and preschool classrooms. The early childhood center also included two half-day preschool classrooms. According to the Head Start Federal Guidelines (National Head Start Association, 2005), families are considered for Head Start when their income is at or below the national level for poverty, which is currently at about $19,000 for a family of four. The United States Department of Agriculture sets the income guidelines for preschool admittance, which is at or about $29,000. Although preschool admission is based on this income level, children who are learning English as their second language are also eligible for preschool. There was a process that the school in the present study followed to place children into Head Start classrooms or preschool classrooms. Before the 2005-2006 school year, information was collected by the school district through application forms submitted by prospective children's families. The same information was collected on every child that applied to attend the school. The main information that school examine was family income. This information was entered into a computer program through the school. At this point, the program determined which children were eligible for Head Start based on income requirements. However, Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 123. because of the high numbers of children eligible for Head Start, the computer also assigned points to children with highest priorities. For example, children who were from single parent homes, victims of distress, or families who receive special services from the Department of Human Services received points. The children with the highest points were then placed into Head Start classrooms. Additionally, federal guidelines mandated that the school reserved 10% enrollment for children with special needs. After these children were assigned to Head Start, the remaining children were placed into preschool programs, meaning that some children in the preschool classrooms were also eligible for Head Start. Further, students were assigned to the two half-day classrooms based on their parents' request. Although the present study included classrooms classified as both Head Start and preschool, there were no differences in the classrooms according to information obtained from the school district. The teachers received the same professional development. In addition, the child development center utilized the Learning Enrichment Activities Program (LEAP) curriculum (Carvel-1, 1994). In this curriculum, the focus is on developing and enhancing language skills through interaction and multisensory Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 124. 108 activities. Every teacher in the child development center was required to utilize this curriculum, and all teachers received the same preparation and training prior to and throughout the school year. All of the classrooms included both teacher directed and child directed activities. For example, the full day ESL, PK and Head Start classrooms began the day with table toys and circle time in which the teacher would lead a whole group of children in singing songs and movements. The pledge and calendar activities were also included in circle time. English was the primary language of instruction in the ESL classrooms, although in every classroom there was an educational aide who spoke Spanish and could help clarify instructions or concepts to the children if needed. Circle time was followed by breakfast, playground, and restroom breaks. Center time was the pivotal time period in the children's day, as this the time of day in which the teacher was able to conduct informal assessments about the children's understandings of important concepts from the week. The centers included activities that allowed the children to practice the skills that they had been learning in class. Full day classrooms attended lunch and returned for a quick circle time. This was followed by naps, which took up the remainder of the day school day. The full day Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 125. bilingual classrooms utilized this same schedule, although the differences in those classrooms came in the language of instruction. The present school employed a 50/50 method of bilingual instruction. The instruction in these classrooms was conducted in both the child's native language (Spanish) and English. This difference in the instruction was evident during circle time especially, when the instruction was conducted in both languages. Finally, the half day PK classrooms included the same types of activities as the full day classrooms, but the duration of the activities was shortened considerably, as children were only there for three hours in the morning class or three hours in the afternoon class. For an example of a half-day and full-day classroom schedule, see Appendix G. The present study included 10 randomly selected, ESL classrooms and the teachers in those classrooms. First, teachers with less than 3 years of experience were eliminated from possible selection for participation in the study. This was done at the request of a school administrator to minimize distractions in newer teachers' classrooms. This served as a delimitation of the study. The remaining teachers were selected for participation in the study by random sampling. After delimiting for classrooms with 4-year-olds and teachers with more than three years of Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 126. 110 teaching experience, there were 16 classrooms left for possible selection. The teachers' names in these classrooms were entered into a box and 10 were randomly selected for participation in the study. The 10 selected teachers then completed demographic forms and returned them to the researcher. The selected teachers submitted information about their years of teaching experience, ethnicity, and areas of certification. The demographic data on the selected teachers is presented in Table 2 which provides detailed information about the participants' years of teaching experience (n:10). Table 2 Distribution of the Teachers by Years of Teaching Experience Experience f Percentage 3 - 5 Years 3 30 6 - 1 0 Years 4 40 11 - -15 Years 3 30 Total 10 100 Further, demographic data from the teachers who participated in the study revealed that 8 teachers (80%) were Caucasian and 2 teachers (20%) were Hispanic. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 127. Ill Additionally, every teacher (n=10, 100%) included in the present study had Elementary and Early Childhood Certification. Some of the teachers held additional certificates; two teachers (20%) had ESL certification, and both teachers in the bilingual classrooms (20%) had Bilingual certification. Of the ten selected teachers and classrooms, eight (80%) of them were ESL classrooms, and two of them (20%) were Bilingual classrooms. According to the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) (2006) , there are standards for each certificate that each teacher has to meet in order to hold that certificate. For Elementary Early Childhood Education, teachers must have a basic knowledge in Art, Language Arts, Health, Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Science, and Social Studies. Under each area, teachers are expected to be able to understand and teach certain skills that go along with that area. Teachers who hold an additional certificate for Bilingual education are expected to be able to speak the language in which they are instructing, have an understanding of the concept of bilingualism, know the process of both first and second language learning, understand the growth and assessment of literacy in the students' primary language, and have a thorough understanding of content area instruction in the students' Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 128. 112 first and second languages. Teachers who hold an additional certificate in English as a Second Language are expected to be able to understand the conventions and functions of the English language, know the foundations of ESL learning, understand the process of first and second language learning, understand assessments that can best serve ESL learners, and serve as advocates for ESL education(SBEC, 2006). In addition, 102 early childhood students who were learning English as their second language were randomly selected from the selected 10 classrooms. First, English language learners were identified as the target population for the present study. Students' names who did not have consent to participate in the study were then removed from possible selection. In addition, a school administrator had requested that children with identified learning disabilities were not included in study. After these adjustments had beeri made, the codes for eligible students from each classroom were entered into a randomization website. Then, approximately 12 students were selected from each classroom to obtain approximately 12 0 students needed for the study. Two classrooms had lower returns on consent forms, so more students were randomly selected from other classes. Both males and females were included in this Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 129. 113 study. Demographic data indicated that there were equal numbers of males and females selected for participation in the study. Additionally, demographic data revealed that 101 of the selected students were Hispanic (98%) , and only one student (2%) was categorized as other than Hispanic. Home language scores were obtained from the school, and represented scores from the home language survey. The home language survey is data that is collected during the application process for preschool or Head Start, and it is collected on every child to determine their possible placement in English language classes. Children from homes where both English and Spanish were spoken were placed into ESL classrooms, and children from homes where Spanish was the sole language are placed into bilingual classrooms. This information was collected in the student demographic data that was provided to the researcher by the school district. Table 3 able shows the breakdown of selected students by program type. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 130. 114 Table 3 Distribution of Selected Students by Program Type Program Participant Count N Percent Head Start Bilingual 4 0 0.0 Preschool 30 29.4 Head Start ESL 12 11.8 Preschool 60 58.8 Instrumentation Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised Edition The ECERS-R was utilized by the researcher to measure the quality of the classroom environment. The rating scale has $n overall internal consistency of .92. Individual subscales had internal consistencies ranging from .71 to .92 (Harms, Clifford, & Cryer, 1998). This scale was designed for use in settings with children ages 2M to 5 years. The scale consisted of broad categories pertaining to the environment such as spatial, programmatic, and interpersonal features that could affect the students and Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 131. 115 teachers in the early childhood classroom. Under these categories, there are seven subscales: Space and Furnishings, Personal Care Routines, Language-Reasoning, Activities, Interaction, Program Structure, and Parents and Staff. The items are rated from 1 (Inadequate) to 7 (Excellent), based on the evidence of each indicator within the subscale. This scale was designed to rate the environment, not the individual child. The accompanying user's manual provided notes and clarifications as to what each indicator should look like, thus minimizing bias in the scoring of the rating scale. The scale was scored by following the scoring system of the scale carefully. The rating scale provided detailed instructions on scoring each item and subscales. To obtain a score for the items, the researcher followed the guidelines provided in the user's manual. To obtain a subscale score, the sum of the item scores was divided by the number of items scored. Finally, a final mean scale score was obtained by taking the sum of all item scores for the whole scales and divided by the number of items scores. Although there are 43 items in the scale, it is possible for this number to be reduced. For example, Item 11 (Naps/Rest), and some preschool programs do not offer naps for the children. Additionally, Item 27 (Use of TV, Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 132. 116 video, and/or computers), Item 37 (Provisions for children with disabilities), Item 41 (Staff interaction and cooperation) and Item 42 (Supervision and evaluation of staff) can also be marked "NA." If any of these items were not a part of the program, this item would be marked "NA" and would not be counted in the total items scored. Therefore, the final ECERS-R score for each classroom would include scores for each subscale as well as a total mean scale score for the entire rating scale. All About the ECERS-R (Cryer, Harms, & Riley, 2003) was consulted for clarifications throughout the administration of the rating scale. This book provided detailed information regarding scoring the items in the scale and photographs to provide a visual representation of aspects of the classrooms. After the researcher completed the scoring of the scale, all of the scales were sent to a data coordinator employed by the Head Start of Greater Dallas. The data coordinator has extensive knowledge and experience with the scoring of the ECERS-R, and verified the accuracy of the scores based on the indicators checked by the researcher. This scale was originally developed in 198 0, and has been used extensively in the field of early childhood education. Harms, Clifford, and Cryer (1998) noted that the Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 133. 117 validity of the revised instrument maintained the predictive validity of the original version of the instrument, which was well established. The extensive studies utilizing the ECERS and ECERS-R gave the authors of the instrument valuable information on the validity of the instrument (Burchinal, Howes, & Peisner-Feinberg, 2002; Burchinal et al ., 2000; Diaz, Arthur, Beecher, McNaught, 2000; Helburn, Culkin, Morris, & Clifford, 1995). The researcher attended three professional training seminars to learn how to utilize and administer the ECERS- R. The training sessions were designed to teach participants how to score items. These training sessions targeted scoring through hands-on training activities, in which the participants first watched videos to score the items, and then moved into actual classroom settings. The training also consisted of discussions when the participants came back together to discuss concerns and questions that arose during the administrations of the rating scale. The rating scale was administered by the researcher, through observations in each classroom. Completion of this scale took a minimum of two hours per observational setting. This instrument required the researcher to observe the classroom setting, to score each indicator, and to Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 134. 118 interview the classroom teacher on items that were not observed in class. Collection of baseline data for the ECERS-R occurred in October and November of 2005, and post data collection for the ECERS-R occurred in April of 2006. Further details on the administration of the rating scale will be described in Chapter 4. Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Third Edition The PPVT-III was utilized to measure the receptive vocabulary of the child participants. The PPVT-III has an internal consistency range of .61 to .81. Additionally, the instrument had a test-retest range of .91 to .94 (Dunn & Dunn, 1997). Administration of the test requires 10-20 minutes and is used to measure receptive vocabulary in English. The test was designed for subjects 2M years of age and older. Participants are asked to identify the picture that corresponds to the word stimulus presented by the examiner. Dunn and Dunn noted that revisions were designed to minimize sex and ethnic stereotyping in the third edition. The PPVT-III is scored by determining a basal set for the child. This is the lowest set in which the child made one or no errors. In addition, a ceiling set is also obtained. This is done by identifying the set in which the child Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 135. 119 makes eight or more errors. The number of errors is then calculated within the two sets to obtain a raw score, and the Norms Booklet that accompanied the PPVT-III is consulted to find the standard score with a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15. To accomplish this task, the researcher must cross reference the chronological age of the child with the raw score to find the standard score for each child. Dunn and Dunn (1997) noted that the validity of the PPVT-III has been well established both qualitatively and quantitatively. The PPVT-III has been used in numerous studies since its latest revision. The researcher underwent professional training to administer the PPVT-III. The training consisted of an overview of the instrument, administration and scoring procedures, and actual field practice utilizing the PPVT- III. Additionally, the researcher had the opportunity to score the protocols and verify the scoring with the trainer. This provided the researcher with a thorough understanding of the instrument, and how to administer and score the PPVT-III. According to an educational publishing company known as American Guidance Service (AGS, 2006): A central principle of professional test use is that individuals should use only those tests for which they have the appropriate training and expertise. AGS Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 136. 120 publishing supports this principle by stating qualifications for the use of particular tests, [sic] and selling tests to individuals only if they have those qualifications. (AGS, para. 1) Further, according to the guidelines of AGS, an individual must qualify as a Level B test administrator in order to purchase and administer the PPVT-III. According to AGS Publishing, a Level B test administrator is a "User [who] has completed graduate training in measurement, guidance, individual psychological assessment, or special appraisal methods appropriate for a particular test" (AGS). The researcher has undergone training and met the qualifications as a Level B test administrator. This confirmation was provided in writing from AGS Publishing to the researcher prior to the purchase of the PPVT-III (See Appendix G ) . The PPVT-III was administered to individual children by the researcher using parallel testing forms A and B. Testing form A was used for baseline data, and testing form B was used for final data collection. Collection of baseline data for the PPVT-III occurred during November and December of 2005, and final data collection for the PPVT- III occurred during May of 2006. At the conclusion of scoring the PPVT-III, the testing forms were sent to the Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 137. 121 data coordinator for the Greater Dallas Head Start. The data coordinator also has extensive knowledge and experience with the PPVT-III and verified the scores of each individual testing form. Teacher Interviews Semi structured interviews with open-ended questions were conducted individually with each of the ten participating teachers during November of 2005. Researchers have concluded that teachers are often unable to articulate their teaching beliefs that reflect in teaching practices (Cassidy & Lawrence, 2000; Schon, 1983). However, Rimm- Kaufman et al . (2006) noted that although teachers' beliefs may not directly influence practice, they do provide a framework for understanding, organizing, and most importantly, informing practice. The researcher utilized semi structured, open-ended interviews (Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2003). In this type of an interview, predetermined questions were asked to elicit thoughts and feelings about the teachers' instructional practices. In a semi structured interview, the same set of questions is asked to each participant, and additional questions can be asked to probe for further information. The researcher developed the questions based on information Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 138. 122 from previous research (Dickinson & Tabors, 2001). The questions that guided the interview were: 1. What do you see as the most important objectives of preschool? Why? 2. What activities do you typically do during group time? Why? 3. What activities do you typically prepare for centers? Why? 4. How do you support the language development of young children? 5. How do you support the language development of non-English speakers? 6. In what ways do you support children's development of literacy skills such as reading and writing? Collection of Data After the researcher had obtained permission to conduct the study in the child development center from the principal via a formal letter of approval, the researcher visited the school in person and explained the details of the study to the principal and teachers. The researcher left an information packet for each teacher that included information about the instruments that would be used, times Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 139. 123 for data collection, and a consent form. The principal of the school collected the consent forms from all of the teachers. One hundred percent of the consent forms were returned from the teachers at the child development center with consent to participate in the study. In addition, the principal sent formal letters to the parents requesting consent for their children to participate in the study. The principal also aided in collection of the consent forms. Eighty one percent of consent forms for students were returned. Quantitative Data Collection Preliminary Data Collection Preliminary data collection occurred during the fall of 2005. Because of the schedule of the researcher, it was only possible to conduct research at the child development center three days a week. The ECERS-R was conducted first. Individual children were then administered the PPVT-III. Additionally, individual teacher interviews were conducted during the initial phase of data collection. During October and November 2005, the researcher began collecting data on classroom quality with the ECERS-R. This instrument required the researcher to observe in each classroom. The order of the observations was based on recommendations from the school principal. Each teacher was Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 140. 124 notified a week before the observation took place. The observations in each classroom lasted between three to four hours. The researcher arrived early on the morning of the observation for each classroom. The researcher arrived at 7:30 to be set up in an obscure corner of the room to minimally disrupt the daily routines in the classroom. In addition, subscale number 7 (Parents and Staff) has an indicator that rates parent and student greetings upon arriving in the classroom. Therefore, it was necessary to actually see the students arrive with their parents first thing in the morning. While the children were out of the classroom for any time, the researcher completed items that required counts such as books in the library, art materials, and center materials. Further, the researcher visited the class during lunch and recess, as some items required observing these settings for scoring. Additionally, the rating scale required the researcher to interview the classroom teacher to obtain any information that was not observed during the course of the observation. Because of the time constraints within the day, 8 of the teachers' agreed to participate in the interviews during their lunch period, when the children were napping. These 8 teachers were both Head Start and Preschool teachers. Two Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 141. 125 teachers' classrooms were half day preschool classes, and did not participate in nap time. Their interviews were conducted during their lunch, the break between their morning class and their afternoon class. The interviews for the ECERS-R lasted between 30 and 45 minutes. The researcher concluded preliminary data collection with the ECERS-R in early November. At the conclusion of the observations and interviews required for the ECERS-R, the researcher began administering the PPVT-III Test Form A to individual children from the classes. Before the test was administered, demographic data obtained from school was recorded on each testing form. This included the child's code, gender, birth date, and home language. Further, the testing date was included and was used to calculate the chronological age of each child. This administration lasted from November to December 2005. The test was administered in a conference room at the request of a school administrator. The test consisted of pictures for the child to identify after a word stimulus was given by the researcher. The researcher visited classrooms during the daily center rotations to be minimally disruptive to the rest of the class. Because the conference room was down the hall from the classrooms, the researcher was able to talk with each child and establish a Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 142. rapport with them before thebeginning of the test. At the onset of the test, the childwas shown two practice sets to identify. This allowed the researcher to explain the test and show the child how to point to each picture. Many children, particularly during the initial data collection, were withdrawn and reluctant to interact. The researcher utilized knowledge of preschool children who were learning English as their second language to encourage them to interact and participate. In addition, stickers were provided for the children atthe conclusion of the test. Final Data Collection The final data collection efforts ran more smoothly than the preliminary data collection efforts. In addition, the final data collection efforts took much less time. The researcher was better organized and the experience of the preliminary data collection efforts served as a learning experience to guide the final data collection efforts. The researcher returned for final data collection in April and May 2006. The teachers' classrooms were revisited in the same order as in the preliminary data collection. In April, the ECERS-R was administered in each class. The PPVT-III was administered individually to child participants in May. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 143. The ECERS-R was administered for final data collection in April. This was conducted to measure the stability of the quality of the classroom environment throughout the course of the academic school year, and to find any changes that may have occurred. The teachers were visited in the same order as in the preliminary data collection. This was done to make sure that the same amount of time had passed between each collection for each teacher. The researcher again arrived early on the mornings of observation, scored the items in the classrooms, and conducted the teacher interviews that were scheduled the same day as the observation at a time that was convenient for each teacher. The scale was again sent to- the data coordinator at the Head Start of Greater Dallas for verification of the scoring. The PPVT-III was administered to individual children in May. The researcher administered the final test using Test Form B. As opposed to the preliminary administration of the PPVT-III, the children were more engaged and more willing to interact with the researcher. The final test was administered in a conference room, as was the preliminary test. The final administration of the PPVT-III was conducted to have an accurate view of the growth of the Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 144. 128 receptive vocabulary of the children over the course of the academic school year. Qualitative Data Collection Teacher interviews aimed at eliciting thoughts and feelings about teachers' instructional practices were conducted during November 2005. Because of time constraints and the busy daily schedules of the teachers, scheduling time to conduct the interviews was challenging. The teachers agreed to meet at the conclusion of their day, after the children were gone and everything was taken care of for the following day. Although the teachers' official conference period was from 3:00-3:45, some of the interviews began late and ran past 3:45. The interviews were conducted in the hallway, outside the teachers' classrooms. Outside each classroom, there was a small conference table used for working with individual children. The researcher utilized these tables to conduct the interviews. Although the interviews were conducted outside the classrooms, the environment was quiet and teachers were attentive to the researcher. The interviews were recorded with an electronic recording device. Each teacher was asked a pre determined, open-ended question, followed up with probing questions such as "why" and "how." Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 145. 129 These interviews were transcribed and coded on an ongoing basis to search for emerging themes and codes. Data Analysis Data collected were analyzed using both quantitative $nd qualitative analysis. Data collected from the ECERS-R and the PPVT-III were analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), a statistical software program for quantitative analysis. Three types of quantitative analyses were employed. Correlational analysis was used to investigate whether a relationship existed between the composite scores and subscale scores on the ECERS-R and the student scores on the PPVT-III. An ANOVA was used to investigate changes in the pre- and post-scores on the PPVT-III. In addition, paired sample t tests were used to investigate any changes in the composite scores on the ECERS-R over the course of the school year. The qualitative portion of the data, teacher interviews, was coded on an ongoing basis to look for themes in the data. Descriptive analysis was utilized to describe the data collected during teacher interviews. Interviews were transcribed and coded to search for emerging themes that identified the teachers' beliefs and instructional practices. The qualitative analysis of the Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 146. 130 study was guided by the work of Creswell (1998) and Rubin and Rubin (2005). These authors helped to clarify the process of qualitative interviewing by explaining the transcription and coding of interviews. This process involved transcribing each interview as it occurred, and then searching through the transcriptions for recurring themes. The themes emerged from the data, and were used to organize and provide a framework for the data obtained from the interviews. Summary This chapter described the method and procedures necessary to determine whether a relationship existed between the early childhood classroom quality and the receptive vocabulary development of young children who were learning English as their second language. The ECERS-R measured the quality of the classroom quality of the t e n , classrooms selected for participation in this study. The scale focused on seven subscales: Space and Furnishings, Personal Care Routines, Language-Reasoning, Activities, Interactions, Program Structure, and Parents and Staff. In addition, the PPVT-III measured the receptive vocabulary development of young, ELLs. Further, teacher interviews were conducted to obtain information about the teachers' instructional practices; Demographic data on teacher Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 147. 131 attributes (i.e., ethnicity, years of experience, certification areas) and student attributes (i.e., gender, home language) were collected and used for descriptive purposes to help the reader understand the sample utilized in the present study. Given the changing demographics of public schools, and the increasing pressures to increase the quality of educational experiences from the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (U.S. Department of Education, 2002), educators have the task of searching for ways to improve instruction for all students. This study can provide information to help guide future' instruction and educational experiences to best enable the students in public schools to become academically successful. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 148. CHAPTER 4 PRESENTATION OF THE DATA This study investigated the possible relationship between the quality of the early childhood classroom environment and the receptive vocabulary development of young children learning English as their second language. Ten randomly selected classrooms were measured for classroom quality with the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised Edition (ECERS-R), and the receptive vocabulary development of 102 randomly selected children was measured with the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Third Edition (PPVT-III). The scores on the ECERS-R and the scores on the PPVT-III were analyzed to explore a possible relationship between the two variables. Additional analyses were run to explore changes in ECERS-R scores and PPVT-III scores from fall to spring. Data were collected during the 2005-2006 school year. Data sources for the study included the ECERS-R, PPVT-III, Teacher Interviews, and Teacher/Child Demographic Forms. The scores from the ECERS-R and the PPVT-III were sent to a data coordinator to verify the accuracy of the scoring prior to being entered into an Excel spread sheet. Demographic data from the teacher and child demographic forms were entered into an Excel spread sheet. All 132 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 149. quantitative data was then transferred and analyzed using SPSS statistical software package. The main analyses utilized for the quantitative data are outlined below and described in further detail in this chapter. Correlational analysis was used to investigate the possible relationship between the composite scores and subscale scores on the ECERS-R and the student scores on the PPVT-III. An Analysis of Variance (AISTOVA) was run to explore the possible changes in scores on the receptive vocabulary test from fall to spring. Finally, paired sample t tests were run to investigate any changes in classroom quality that occurred over the academic school year. According to Gall, Gall, and Borg (2003) acceptable levels of significance for the social sciences is normally <.05 or <.001. For the present study, all quantitative data were analyzed at the .05 level of significance. For the qualitative data, teacher interviews were transcribed and coded to search for emerging themes. Creswell (1998) and Rubin and Rubin (2005) provided the framework for analyzing the qualitative data. Treatment of the Data Before the data was entered into SPSS and analyzed, the researcher conducted a raw screening of the data. A pre- and post-test was conducted to measure the stability Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 150. 134 of the quality of the classroom environment over the course of the academic school year. In addition, six of the 102 children moved during the school year, resulting in the attrition rate of six percent. Also, one child was not testable during the final phase of data collection. The PPVT-III scores from these seven children were not used in the analyses, resulting in 95 PPVT-III scores being used for analyses. Analysis Results Classroom Quality Research Hypothesis 1 stated that there would be no significant changes in the overall quality of the classroom over the course of the academic school year. The mean composite ECERS-R score for all the classrooms for the fall semester was 5.44 with a standard deviation of .41, and the mean composite ECERS-R score for the spring semester was 5.38 with a standard deviation of .31. The total composite ECERS-R scores for each teacher were moderately high in both the fall and the spring semesters with a range of 4.60-6.12 in the fall, and 4.93-5.88 in the spring. Because the present study collected both pre- and post-data with the ECERS-R to measure the consistency of the quality of the environment, a paired sample t test was conducted to evaluate whether changes in the quality of the Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 151. 135 classroom occurred over the course of the academic school year. The results indicated that the mean for the pre- ECERS-R (M= 5.44, SD= .414) was not significantly greater than the post-ECERS-R (M= 5.38, SD= .314), t(9)= .611, p= .556. The 95% confidence interval for the mean difference between the two ratings was .165 to .287. Thus, no significant changes occurred in the overall quality of the classroom environment over the academic school year. The ECERS-R consisted of seven subscales (i.e., Space and Furnishings, Personal Care Routines, Language- Reasoning, Activities, Interactions, Program Structure, and Parents and Staff) that are rated to obtain the total composite score for the scale. Space and Furnishings rated areas of the classroom utilized during routines such as meals/snacks, play, and instructional activities. Personal Care Routines rated regular occurrences throughout the day such as greetings, nap/rest, toileting, and health/safety practices. Language Reasoning rated the availability of books and pictures, teachers' encouragement of communication, and the use of informal language in the classroom. Activities rated routines such as fine motor, art, music, blocks, sand/water, dramatic play, science, and math. Interaction rated supervision of children, discipline, and child/staff interactions. Program Structure Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 152. rated scheduling, free play, and group time. Parents and Staff rated provisions, staff interaction, and supervision/evaluation of staff. Paired sample t tests were utilized to investigate whether any changes occurred in mean subscale scores over the course of the academic school year. Further, paired sample t tests were utilized to investigate differences in the individual subscale scores from fall to spring. Table 4 represents the mean subscale scores, standard deviations, and results from the paired sample t tests. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 153. 137 Table 4 Distribution of ECERS-R Mean Subscale Scores M SD t P Subscale Fall Spring Fall Spring 1. Space and Furnishings 5.34 4 .93 .44 .41 3 .04 0.014* 2. Personal Care Routines 5.14 4.99 .96 .81 0.98 0 .351 3 . Language Reasoning 4 .63 4.40 .90 1.05 0.69 0.510 4. Activities 4 .70 4.56 .76 .36 0.52 0 .615 5. Interaction 6.20 6.76 1. 01 .47 -2 .23 0 .053 6. Program Structure 5.63 5.81 1. 02 1.22 00 in 0 1 0.575 7. Parents and Staff 6 .92 6.98 .26 .05 -1. 00 0.343 * Significant at .05 Results from the paired sample t tests revealed that that the subscale Space and Furnishings was the only subscale with significant differences between fall and spring, t(9)= 3.04, p= .014, with the 95% confidence Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 154. interval between the subscales mean differences being .105 and .719. There are eight items under Space and Furnishings, and includes indicators such as the furniture in the classroom, the spacing of classroom items, and lighting and ventilation. The findings indicate that this subscale had significant changes over the course of the year. Specifically, there were five classrooms that received lower scores in the spring under item 5 (Space for privacy). This item rated whether areas for privacy were available, the time the privacy areas were available to children, and whether specific activities were set up for children to use in privacy areas. This finding indicated that more privacy areas were available and for more time in the fall semester than in the spring semester. This indicated that some teachers had decreased time available or eliminated privacy areas from the classrooms. Additionally, three classrooms received lower scores in the spring for items 3 (Furnishings for relaxation), 6 (Child- related display) , and 8 (Gross motor equipment) . The changes in the remaining six subscale scores (i.e., Space and Furnishings, Personal Care Routines, Language-Reasoning, Activities, Interactions, Program Structure, and Parents and Staff) were not significant. Although there was one subscale with significant Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 155. 139 differences, these findings indicated that there were no significant changes in the overall quality of the classrooms from fall to spring, and research Hypothesis 1 failed to be rejected. PPVT-III Research Hypothesis 2 stated that there would be no significant in student scores on the PPVT-III over the course of the academic school year. Selected students were administered the PPVT-III to examine their receptive vocabulary in English in the fall and spring semesters. As explained in the treatment of data section of this paper, 95 children's PPVT-III scores were used for analyses in the present study. Standard mean scores on the post PPVT-III were higher for all classrooms with the exception one. It is important to note that PPVT-III standard scores were used for analyses, since these scores have been adjusted for ages with the mean being 100, SD= 15. The fall standard class mean scores ranged from 50.54-82.83, (M= 70.24, SD= 18.66). The children in these classes ranged in age from 4.2 to 5.5 years. The spring standard class mean scores ranged from 60.94-94.10, (M= 76.69, SD= 19.04). The children in these classrooms had aged over the semester and ranged in age Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 156. from 4.7 to 5.11 years. This change from fall to spring indicated that the mean scores on the PPVT-III for the classrooms had increased by 6.45 points. To explore the whether a significant change occurred in overall student scores on the PPVT-III from fall to spring, an ANOVA was utilized for the analyses. The ANOVA indicated that there was a significant difference in mean PPVT-III scores from fall to spring, F(l,94)= 21.71, p=.000. Therefore, research Hypothesis 2 was rejected. For descriptive purposes, student scores were also computed and broken down by the types of classrooms. Table 5 provides detailed information about students' scores on the PPVT-III. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 157. 141 Table 5 One-Way Analysis of Variance Summary for Student Scores on the PPVT-III M SD______ F £ Fall Spring Fall Spring Overall 70 .33 76.51 18.71 19.02 21.72 .000* Bilingual 54 .83 61.24 13 .76 16.11 7 .12 .013* ESL 77 .04 83.12 16 .50 16 .23 14 .41 .000* Half-Day 57 .63 66.50 17.18 16 .11 13 .31 .001* Full-Day 74 .57 79.85 17.32 18 .84 11.36 .001* * Significant at p^ .05 Research Hypothesis 3 stated that there would be no significant relationship between the composite score on the ECERS-R and student scores on the PPVT-III. Initially, data obtained from the ECERS-R and the PPVT-III were checked to meet the assumptions for running a bivariate correlational analyses. The data were checked for normal distribution by using a scatter plot, and they were also determined to be independent of each other. Because the assumptions were met, correlation coefficients were computed between the composite scores on the ECERS-R and the students' final Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 158. standard mean PPVT-III scores. A p value of less than .05 was required for significance. The results of the correlational analyses indicated that composite scores on the classroom quality scale were found to have a significant negative correlation with mean scores on the receptive vocabulary test, r(94)= -0.382, p= .000. In general, the results suggested that if scores on the classroom quality scales were high, the mean scores on the receptive vocabulary test tended to be lower. Therefore, research Hypothesis 3 was rejected. Research Hypothesis 4 stated that there would be no significant relationship between the aspects of the environment (i.e., Space and Furnishings, Personal Care Routines, Language-Reasoning, Activities, Interactions, Program Structure, and Parents and Staff subscales from the classroom quality rating scale) and student scores on the receptive vocabulary test. A correlational analysis was run to explore the possible relationships between post individual mean subscale scores and post scores on the PPVT-III. Specifically, the subscales Language-Reasoning and Interaction were the focus, as these subscales have been found to have a positive relationship with receptive vocabulary scores (ACYF, 2003). Results from the Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 159. 143 correlational analyses for individual subscales are displayed in Table 6. Table 6 Correlations among the ECERS-R Subscales and Children's Scores on the PPVT-III Subscales PPVT-III p Space and Furnishings -0,.229 0 ..026 Personal Care Routines -0,.231 0 ..024 Language Reasoning -0,.403 0 ..000* Activities -0,.346 0 ..001* Interaction -0..039 0 ..706 Program Structure 0 ..031 0.,901 Parents and Staff - 0 ..315 0 .,002* * Significant at p^ .007 Correlation coefficients were computed among the seven ECERS-R subscales and children's scores on the post PPVT- III. Using the Bonferroni method to control for Type I errors across the correlations, a p value of less than .007 was required for significance (.05/7). The results of the correlational analyses presented in Table 6 show that three out of seven correlations were statistically significant Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 160. and were greater than or equal to .32. The subscales that showed a statistically negative significance were Language Reasoning, Activities, and Parents and Staff, r(94)= -.403, p= .000; r (94)= -.346, p= .001; and r(94)= -.315, p= .002, respectively. These subscales were negatively correlated, meaning that in general, the higher the subscale scores, the lower the PPVT-III scores. The results indicated that the subscales Space and Furnishings, Personal Care, Interaction, and Program Structure were not significantly correlated with PPVT-III scores. Because three of the seven subscales were found to be significant at the p^.05 level, research Hypothesis 4 failed to be rejected. For descriptive purposes, and because the subscales Language-Reasoning and Activities were negatively correlated with PPVT-III scores, and were of particular interest to the present study, the following tables show the subscales along with the fall and spring means and standard deviations for specific items. The information provides a clear depiction of the classroom environment in terms of two subscales that have items that may be related to vocabulary development. Table 7 shows the scores for the subscale Language-Reasoning, along with the items under that subscale. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 161. 145 Table 7 Language-Reasoning Subscale and Item Scores from ECERS-R Items Fall M Spring Fall SD Spring 1. Books and pictures 5.2 4.3j 1. 55 .95 2. Encouraging children to communicate 5.8 5.5 1.32 1.58 3. Using language to develop reasoning skills 3.2 3.6 1.81 1.26 4. Informal use of language 4.3 4.2 1. 06 1. 75 The information depicted in table 7 shows that "Using language to develop reasoning skills" was "moderate" for both the fall and spring. Since this item rates aspects related to develop language such as talking about logical relationships and using reasoning throughout the day, it was of particular interest. Also, although slightly higher, Informal use of language was also "moderate" in both the fall and spring. This item rated aspects such as staff- child conversations and encouraging children to ask questions and provide more complex answers. These findings indicated that the classrooms in the present study, although overall were "good," may need improvement in these Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 162. 146 important areas that could contribute to vocabulary development of children. Additionally, Table 8 shows the scores for the subscale Activities, along with the items under that subscale. Table 8 Activities Subscale and Item Scores from ECERS-R Items Fall M Spring Fall SD Spring 1. Fine Motor 5.2 4.6 1.55 1.26 2 . Art 4.5 3.8 1.78 .42 3. Music/movement 3.7 3 .7 1.56 .95 4. Blocks 4.8 4.2 1. 03 .63 5. Sand/water 6.1 6 .0 .32 .00 6. Dramatic play 4 .7 3 .9 1. 16 .32 7. Nature/science 3.4 3 .9 1.65 .32 8. Math/number 4 .1 4 .0 .74 .00 9. Use of TV, video, and/or computers 6.4 7.0 1. 58 .00 10.Promoting acceptance of diversity 4 .1 4.5 .32 1.08 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 163. ;<As shown in Table 8, "Fine motor," "Sand/water," and "Use of TV, video, and/or computers" were "good." This indicated strengths in these areas. "Music/movement" and "Nature/science" were "moderate" in both the fall and spring semesters. "Music/movement" rated aspects of the environment such as music materials available to children and music available as both a free choice and group activity. According the ECERS-R, early childhood classrooms need to have musical experiences available for children. As indicated in Table 8, however, the majority of classrooms lacked in "Music/movement" indicators needed to score "good" or "excellent." Additionally, "Nature/science" rated aspects such as developmentally appropriate games from at least two science or nature categories daily and nature/science activities that require more input from staff. As indicated in Table 8, this was also an item that scored only "moderate" in both the fall and spring semesters. Because activities that teachers provide can help to enhance the learning environment, the subscale Activities and its individual items were important to this study. These findings indicated that in the present study, classrooms may need improvement in these areas to best enhance learning and possibly vocabulary growth. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 164. 148 Qualitative Data Analysis Ten classroom teachers were interviewed during the preliminary data phase, and they provided comments and responses about their teaching beliefs and instructional practices. Descriptive analysis was utilized to organize the findings from the qualitative portion of the data, and was guided by the analyses suggestions of Creswell (1998) and Rubin and Rubin (2005) . Because the purpose of this study was to examine the receptive vocabulary of selected children, the information collected in the interviews was connected to students' scores on the receptive vocabulary test. Connections were also made to the mean ECERS-R 1 subscale scores in which some of the instructional practices indicated in the responses may have appeared. Scores for the subscales were rated on a seven point scale (1= Inadequate, 3= Minimal, 5= Good, 7= Excellent). Structured interviews with open-ended questions (Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2003) were utilized in this study. The questions were developed by the researcher, and were conducted to elicit teachers' feelings about their instructional practices and beliefs about teaching young children. The following questions were used in the interviews that were conducted individually with each teacher: Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 165. 149 1. What do you see as the most important objectives of preschool? Why? 2. What activities do you typically do during group time? Why? 3. What activities do you typically prepare for centers? Why? 4. How do you support the language development of young children? 5. How do you support the language development of non-English speakers? 6. In what ways do you support children's development of literacy skills such as reading and writing? What do you see as the most important objectives of preschool? Why? Ten teachers responded to question 1 (n =10). The following codes were identified as themes in this interview question: Social Interaction; Kindergarten Preparation/Academic Skills; Supportive Environment; Creating Independence; and Other. Of the 10 responses to the question, 100% (n =10) of the responses included an answer that focused on social development. Responses such as "learning how to work in groups, and learning how to communicate"; "social skills-kids come to school with very Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 166. 150 little social skills at all"; "Socialization"; and "Kids have to learn social skills- they need to be able to work together" guided the development of the theme Social Development. Of the responses, 80% focused on Kindergarten Preparation and Academic Skills (n =8). Responses that guided the development of this theme included: "I hope that children are prepared for kindergarten, as well as meeting the standards that we have to meet"; "...we are helping them to develop the skills that they will need to be successful in kindergarten" ; "vocabulary...and background knowledge... this will help to prepare them for kindergarten"; and "we have the responsibility to prepare these children for kindergarten." Because background knowledge is an integral part of learning vocabulary (Ewers & Brownson, 1999) this response was seen as important, and may have contributed to the growth in vocabulary from fall to spring. The ECERS-R • subscale Activities (M =4.56) included indicators that rated instructional practices related to the development of background knowledge. Of the responses, 40% focused on providing a Supportive Environment (n =4). Some of the responses that helped to develop this theme were: "to teach kids and to be loving"; "developing a positive attitude about school... it Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 167. 151 is sometimes up to us to provide a positive environment for them and to help them become comfortable in the school setting"; and "I see the most important goal to be providing a secure, confident setting so that children will want to come to school... opportunities to learn in a safe place." Of the responses, 20% focused on Creating Independence as the most important goal of preschool (n =20). Responses included: "creating independence and self-help skills" and "they need to learn to take care of themselves." Of the responses, 30% focused on Other topics (n =3). These responses focused on separate topics and were not identified as a specific category or theme. Responses in this category included: "we need to teach kids how to solve problems"; "develop an imagination"; and "fine motor skills." What activities do you typically do during group time? Why? Ten teachers responded to question 2. The following themes were developed based on the responses to the questions: Academics/Cognitive Skills, Fine/Gross Motor Development, Curriculum, and Other. Of the responses to question 2, 100% focused on Academic or Cognitive Skills (n =10). Responses that guided the development of this theme included: "we work on attendance (math), calendar, sounds, Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 168. and letter recognition"; "early reading skills"; "oral language development"; "we work on vocabulary, letter recognition, word identification, reading, ABCs, phonemic awareness, rhyming, singing..."; and "it's a time for me to review and reflect, and to help me to plan what we learned and what we didn't get to." This theme could be seen as an important indicator of the receptive vocabulary growth from fall to spring as well, as many of the responses focused around building early literacy skills, which encompasses vocabulary development. The ECERS-R subscales in which these responses may have been reflected in practice include Activities (M= 4.56), Interaction (M= 6.76), and Parents and Staff (M= 6.98). The mean subscale scores indicated that teachers likely were implementing the instructional practices that their responses indicated. Of the responses, 30% focused on Fine/Gross Motor Development (n =3). Responses that guided the development of this theme included: "ball toss, dance, movement, music and rhythm"; and "things that help children develop fine and gross motor skills that are goals for Preschool and Head Start." Of the responses, 30% focused on Curriculum as a large group activity (n =3). For example, teachers had the I following responses to the question: "These activities are Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 169. 153 based on our curriculum"; and "we use many of the activities presented in the curriculum (LEAP). There are certain things that each child has to know, and some of these are worked in during group time." Of the responses, 30% focused on Other topics (n =3). Examples of responses included: "I use methods from Reading Recovery like clapping out the words and counting the syllables"; and "I base my group time on the needs of the children." What activities do you typically prepare for centers? Why? Ten teachers responded to question 3. The following themes were developed based on the responses to the question: Social Interaction, Academics/Cognitive Skills, Fine/Gross Motor Development, Curriculum, Assessments, and Other. Of the responses, 20% focused on Social Interaction (n =2). Responses that guided the development of this theme included: "the goal of the centers is for children to... play alongside each other"; and "some children are only children at home, and these children may not know how to function with other children. This makes it very important for me to build social skills." Of the responses, 100% focused on Academic or Cognitive Skills (n =10). Responses included: "these areas are built to help them [children] work on concepts from Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 170. 154 science and math to writing and reading"; "we do science, math, writing, ABCs sand/water, dramatic play, and library centers"; and "I see it as an opportunity for children to practice what we are learning." Of the responses, 20% focused on Fine/Gross Motor Development (n =2). This theme was developed based on the following responses: "The other centers help children with skills such as fine/gross motor development like the art and block center"; and "Gross motor development is very important and a big part of our centers." Of the responses, 80% focused on the Curriculum as activities for center time (n =8). Responses that guided the development of this theme included: "we provide these based on the current LEAP themes and the Head Start guidelines for children"; "During our center time, I promote the goals of preschool and Head Start"; and "the materials [in the centers] are rotated according to LEAP." Of the responses, 20% focused on Other topics (n =2). Responses to the question were: "we use the Dial III to help us guide what we put into our centers"; and "more listening activities need to be added." Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 171. 155 How do you support the language development of young children? The following themes were identified based on the responses to question 4: Exposure/Experiences, Expression, Value, Modeling, Reinforcements, ESL, Native Language Development, and Individualized Instruction. Of the responses, 40% focused on Exposure or Experiences when supporting the language development of children (n =4). Responses included: "Language posters and pictures of fall things... environmental print, word wall, and symbol charts"; "Experiences are necessary for them to learn. If they do not have experiences, I have to provide them"; and "they need something to connect it to- real life experiences." Of the responses, 30% focused on Expression (n =3). Responses that guided the development of this theme included: "I am trying to get them to use their language... to communicate"; and "to be able to express their thoughts and feelings through their language." These responses might have had an influence on the growth in vocabulary from fall to spring. In addition, these responses were likely reflected in the subscale Language-Reasoning (M =4.40), in which teachers encourage children to use language and develop reasoning skills. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 172. 156 Of the responses, 30% focused on Value (n =3). Responses included: "the more that we give them, the more empowered they will be"; and "they need to know what they say and how it is important." Of the responses, 20% focused on Modeling (n =2). Responses included: "I use lots of modeling for them"; and "I do a lot of modeling, especially for second language learners." The remaining categories each had only one response, but were noteworthy and therefore deserved a theme of its own. One teacher's response focused on Reinforcements. She said: "I also reinforce their language attempts, because we want them to use the language that they have." Another teacher's response focused on ESL. Her response was: "we have a specific time set aside for ESL work." Another i teacher's response focused on Native Language Development, and her response was: "I am a big supporter of children needing to learn their native language before they learn English." The final teacher's response focused on Individualized Instruction as a support for language development in her classroom. Her response was: "I do a rotation with them where I meet one-on-one with each child and talk with them during the day." Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 173. 157 How do you support the language development of non-English speakers? The following themes were identified based on the responses to question 5: Same/Almost the same as English speakers, Modeling, Individualized Instruction, Experiences/Exposure, Expression, Transition to English Smoothly, and Immersion in English. Of the responses, 70% focused on Same or Almost the same as English speakers (n =7). Responses that helped guide the development of this theme included: "my view doesn't really change"; "mostly I support these children the same as the regular ed students"; "I feel the same about second language learners. They need to use the language in order to develop and enhance it"; and "A lot of it is the same." Of the responses, 30% focused on Modeling as a support for non-English speaking children (n =3). Responses included: "As a teacher, I know that I have to provide concrete examples"; and "they need more pictures to make concrete connections, and they need it explained more sometimes." Of the responses, 30% focused on Individual Instruction (n =3). Responses that guided the development of this theme included: "My assistant with the children who Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 174. 158 are not fluent in English"; and "I do a lot more support in small groups with these children." Of the responses, 20% focused on Experiences or Exposure (n =2). Responses included: "requires them to...actively engage in conversations on a daily basis"; and "They have to have exposure to the language." Of the responses, 20% focused on Expression (n =2). Responses that guided the development of this theme included: "they need to have the need to use the language"; and "they need to use the language in order to develop and enhance it." Of the responses, 20% focused on Transitioning to English Smoothly (n =2). Responses included: "I teach in both English and Spanish, but the children get into their comfort zone and are afraid to move out it into more English. I strive to make sure that they are challenged to make this move into English"; and "most importantly, we have to help them clarify any language confusion that they may develop as they move into their new language." The remaining categories, Reinforcement and Immersion in English each had only one response but were considered themes. One teacher's response focused on Reinforcement as a support for non English speakers. She said: "I may repeat instructions to them in both language, so that they Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 175. 159 understand, but this also reinforces the English that we want them to learn." One teacher's response focused on Immersion in English, and her response was: "The world functions in English... these kids have to learn English. I believe in a total immersion into the language, an environment in which they have to use the language to get b y ." In what ways do you support children's development of literacy skills such as reading and writing? The following themes were identified based on’the responses to question 6: Daily Activities, Special Programs/Teacher Training, Kindergarten Preparation, and Reinforcement. Of the responses, 100% focused on Daily Activities to support children's development of reading and writing skills (n =10). Responses that guided the development of this theme included: "Centers, group time, reading books to the children, asking questions, and talking to the children"; "We read books and provide opportunities for writing every day"; "The activities that are rotated into the centers are also aimed that helping enhance reading and writing skills"; and "Group time, circle time, one-on-one, reading books, and modeling." Because question 6 was closely linked to the purpose of this study, the responses were of particular interest to Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 176. the researcher. Other studies have noted the importance of using books to develop vocabulary (August et al., 2005; Ewers & Brownson, 1999), using prior knowledge to teach new words (Ewers & Brownson, 1999), and exposure to the new words which children are learning (Rosenblum & Pinker, 1983). Because these were identified as major focuses of teachers' instructional practices from the data collected in the interviews, it may be important to note that these activities may have played a role in the growth of receptive vocabulary from fall to spring. Additionally, the subscales of the ECERS-R, in which these items may have appeared, were Language-Reasoning (M =4.40), Activities (M =4.56), and Program Structure (M =5.81). Thus, the scores on the ECERS-R might indicate that teachers were actually incorporating some of the instructional practices that they said they used. Each of the remaining categories had only one response. One teacher's response focused on Special Programs/Teacher Training. She said: I am trained in reading recovery. We readlots of stories, and I use many of the strategieslearned from reading recovery such as counting words, syllables, and clapping. This type of instruction really taps Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 177. 161 into various learning styles and gives the children something that they can move and learn with. Another teacher's response focused on Kindergarten Preparation as a support for children's development of reading and writing skills. She said: "Everything that we work on are all things that children will need to move into kindergarten." Lastly, a teacher's response focused on Reinforcement. Her response was: "Our group work also helps them to build on what they already know." Summary Overall, these statistical results showed that classroom quality scores did not show a significant changed over the course of the school year. However, there was one subscale, Space and Furnishings, that did decrease by .41 points from fall to spring. Although this changed in this particular subscale was significant, the composite scores on the ECERS-R and overall mean subscale scores were not. Further, analyses indicated that the overall mean scores for the PPVT-III did show a significant change from fall to spring, these changes were to be expected, as children experienced normal growth in vocabulary. Composite scores from the ECERS-R and the PPVT-III were analyzed to search for a possible relationship, and the analysis revealed that Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 178. there was a significant, negative correlation between the two variables, thus indicating that the higher the classroom quality, the lower the receptive vocabulary scores. Correlational analyses were also utilized to search for relationships between the individual subscales on the ECERS-R and student scores on the PPVT-III. Results from these analyses indicated that 3 out of the 7 subscales were found to have a significant, negative relationship with receptive vocabulary scores. These results also indicated that the higher the individual subscale scores, the lower the children's scores on the PPVT-III. Finally, teacher's interviews gave insight into what their instructional practices looked like in the classroom. This gave the researcher a better understanding of what type of activities the teachers were actually applying daily in their classrooms. The responses from the interviews were connected to students' receptive vocabulary growth from fall to spring, as well as ECERS-R mean subscale scores. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 179. CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS Data from this study were collected with the intent of exploring a possible relationship between the quality of the early childhood classroom environment and the receptive vocabulary development of young children learning English as their second language. In addition, this study investigated changes that occurred in both classroom quality and receptive vocabulary over the school year, and the possible relationship between individual subscales on the classroom quality rating scale and student scores on the receptive vocabulary test. This chapter begins with a summary of the findings, followed by the original research questions and an interpretation and discussion of the findings. This is followed by a discussion of the limitations of the study. Next, conclusions and implications are discussed, followed by recommendations for future research. A summary concludes this chapter. Summary of the Findings Current educational pressures, particularly from the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (U.S. Department of Education, 2002), have left educators with the task of 163 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 180. 164 increasing academic testing scores for students in public schools. The mandates have also put the pressure on to increase the quality of school experiences for children, namely the quality of the classroom in which young children are learning. Further, given the drastic increase in second language learners in public schools (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2005), teachers have to discover the best ways to deliver quality instruction so that all students will benefit. The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised Edition (ECERS-R) is a widely used environment rating scale for early childhood classrooms. Further, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Third Edition (PPVT-III) is also widely used to assess young children's receptive vocabulary. Seeking to investigate the possible relationship between classroom environment and vocabulary development of young children learning English as a second language, this study attempted to provide some insights into this issue. Classroom Quality and Receptive Vocabulary Development Based on the findings presented in Chapter 4, there were no significant changes in the overall classroom environment over the course of the academic school year. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 181. 165 Paired sample t tests were utilized in the present study to explore any changes that may have occurred in the quality of the classroom over the school year. Data were collected in the fall and spring. The analyses indicated that no significant changes occurred in the overall quality of the classroom environment; however, there was one subscale, Space and Furnishings, which decreased from fall to spring by .41 points. This subscale addresses aspects of the environment related to physical space and furniture available for children to use in the classroom. Specifically, the items which showed a decrease from fall to spring were items 3 (Furnishings for relaxation and comfort), 5 (Space for privacy), 6 (Child-related display), and 8 (Gross motor equipment). Some possible reasons for the decrease in quality from fall to spring in item 3 may have included wear and tear on furnishings. For item 5, the decrease indicated that teachers may have decreased the time that privacy areas were available or eliminated areas for privacy. Item 6 may have decreased from fall to spring because of teachers removing items from the room in preparation for the summer. Finally, item 8, which included indicators such as the general repair of gross motor equipment, also included an indicator which stated that the gross motor equipment must be available to children for at Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 182. 166 least one hour per day for an full-day class, or thirty minutes per day for a half-day class. The findings indicated that, in general, children were not spending the required amount of time using gross motor equipment during the spring. Although this one subscale (Space and Furnishings) decreased over the school year, the overall quality of the « environment did not show a significant change. This finding is supported by previous research using the ECERS-R which found very little change in the overall quality of the classroom over the school year (Moore & Brown, 2006) . Data were collected on the children's receptive vocabulary in the fall and spring semesters. An ANOVA was computed to explore any changes in PPVT-III scores that occurred over the school year. The analyses indicated that there was a significant change from fall to spring in overall mean PPVT-III scores. The Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF) (2003) conducted a national study of 40 Head Start center known as the FACES and reported that national mean standard norms for vocabulary tests for children entering preschool or Head Start was about 101. Thus, data from the present study indicated that the children were below average. Average children of this age learn about 1,000 words per year and Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 183. therefore their vocabulary would be expected to increase over the course of the school year (ACYF, 2003; Biemiller, 2006). Further, Brabham and Villaume (2002) noted that children learn and grow in vocabulary each day simply from incidental learning. Therefore, it could be assumed that the children in the present study would have a natural increase in their vocabulary over the course of the school year, leading to the belief that the significant increase from fall to spring in the present study was due to this natural growth. However, it is also important to note that "in the past 25 years, there have been very few quasi- experimental or experimental studies focused on English vocabulary teaching among elementary school language- minority children" (August et al., 2005, p. 52), and that educators might not be able to draw comparisons based on previous research studies conducted with English speaking children. Additionally, teachers' instructional practices might have had an influence on the increase in receptive vocabulary. The questions asked during the individual teacher interviews aimed to elicit information about teachers' instructional practices that might help to develop literacy skills of the children. Many of the responses focused on kindergarten preparation/academic Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 184. 168 skills, cognitive development, social development, and experiences. For example, one teacher's response to the question How do you support the language development of young children? responded, "Experiences are necessary for them to learn. If they do not have experiences, I have to provide them". Another teacher responded, "I want them [children] to be able to express their thoughts and feelings through their language". These responses indicate that the teachers are helping children to gain the experiences that they need for background knowledge, and to actually use the words that they are learning every day. The ECERS-R subscales in which these types of practices may have been rated were Language-Reasoning (M =4.40) and Activities (M =4.56). Additionally, teachers' responses to the interview question What activities do you typically prepare during group time? included "early reading skills" and "it's a time for me to review and reflect, and to help me to plan what we learned and what we didn't get to". These responses indicated that early reading skills were being taught, as well as self- evaluations. These practices may have been rated in Activities and Parents and Staff (M =6.98) subscales. As a reminder, the ECERS-R is scored on a seven point rating scale: 1 (Inadequate), 3 (Minimal), 5 (Good), and Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 185. 169 7 (Excellent). This finding could be interpreted as what teachers said in their interviews is actually what is appearing in their instructional practices in the classroom. Although studies have found that teachers are often unable to articulate why they are providing certain types of activities (Cassidy & Lawrence, 2000; Schon, 1983), the findings from the present study may support findings by Dickinson and Tabors (2001), that teachers' beliefs about instructional practices may actually play a role in the development of a high quality classroom. Correlational analyses in the present study indicated that a significant negative correlation existed between the scores on the ECERS-R and the PPVT-III at .05. This finding was atypical of what previous research studies have found. Previous studies have found that higher ECERS scores are positively correlated with higher language development (Burchinal et a l ., 2000; Herrera et a l ., 2005). The findings from the present study were surprising and unexpected, as one would expect for the correlation between classroom quality and student's vocabulary growth to be positive. Additionally, correlation coefficients were computed for each of the seven subscales from the ECERS-R to explore a possible relationship between the subscale Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 186. scores and student's scores on the PPVT-III. The results of this analysis indicated that three of the seven subscales were found to significantly impact students' scores on the receptive vocabulary test; however, the correlations were all negative. It is important to note that two of the classes in the sample were bilingual classrooms in which instruction occurred in both English and Spanish. Some researchers have supported the idea that children do, in fact, need native language development that bilingual classrooms offer in order to be more successful in learning English (CREDE, 2003; Cummins, 1991) . However, it would make sense that preschool children in bilingual classrooms would be speaking predominantly in their native language, not in English. According to Garcia (2000), children who are receiving bilingual services may need up to seven years to acquire proficiency in English. Therefore, the children in the present study might not have had the time necessary to develop vocabulary in English. Further, an ANOVA computed for the two bilingual classrooms indicated that children in these classrooms did gain in receptive vocabulary; however, the gain was less than children in the ESL classrooms, F(l,28) = 7.12, p= .013. This is an important aspect of the present study, as these two classrooms may have impacted Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 187. 171 the overall correlations of ECERS-R and PPVT-III scores, but because of the random sampling procedure, they were included in the analyses. Limitations Because the present study was planned and conducted by the sole researcher from beginning to end, there were certain limitations placed on the study. Perhaps the most powerful of these limitations was the small number of classrooms utilized for the study (n =10). The researcher conducted testing for the present study using both the ECERS-R and the PPVT-III, as well as conducting the teacher interviews. This small number of classrooms was necessary because of time constraints on the researcher. This small number of classrooms limited the amounts and types of analyses that could be run with the data, thus affecting the power of the analyses. Additionally, the researcher only administered the English version of the PPVT-III, and although this was a study of English language learners, it is important to note that researchers have noted that it is crucial to assess ELLs in both their native language and in English to obtain an overall view of their academic abilities (Brown, 2004; Espinosa, 2003) . Further, a study by Biemiller (2003) noted Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 188. 172 that many children's delay in vocabulary development may not be evident until later elementary grades. The children in the present study were assessed in the fall and spring of their preschool year. Finally, the researcher only utilized two instruments for the present study. The ECERS-R was chosen to measure the quality of the classroom and the PPVT-III was chosen to measure the receptive vocabulary development of the children. There are many tools available for measuring both the quality of the classroom and the vocabulary development of young children. Dickinson (2003) suggested that researchers carefully consider the selection of a environmental rating scale. Also, previous researchers have stressed the importance of using more than one assessment to obtain an accurate portrayal of children's academic abilities (Rasinski & Padak, 2004) . Implications Educators can utilize the information from the present study in many ways. Most importantly, researchers have found that children benefit greatly from quality early childhood experiences (Dickinson & Tabors, 2001; Hart & Risley, 1995; Hemmeter & Kaiser, 1990; Peisner-Feinberg et al., 2001) . Although the present study indicated Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 189. significant negative correlations between the classroom environment and receptive vocabulary scores, it is possible that this have been due to the small number of classrooms used in the study. Educators need to focus on creating environments that go beyond the aesthetically pleasing, and move into environments that are educationally stimulating and offer more chances for cognitive and language growth. Research has also shown that vocabulary growth is strongly correlated with later academic success, particularly in reading (Biemiller, 2006; Cunningham & Stanovich, 1997; Storch & Whitehurst, 2002). The data collected from the qualitative teacher interviews in the present study indicated that teachers were concerned with creating an environment that was conducive to vocabulary learning. For example, teachers indicated that they prepared activities that helped children prepare for kindergarten, learn social and cognitive skills, obtain experiences and exposures to reading materials, and challenge those who are non-English speakers to move into using more English. Studies have also shown the importance of providing high quality literature for children to learn from in the classrooms (August et al., 2005; Ewers & Brownson, 1999). The ECERS-R subscale which would have supported this was Language-Reasoning (M =4.40). Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 190. The information gained from the present study can be utilized by schools and policy makers alike. Research studies discussed above should encourage schools to develop and implement high quality classrooms for young children. Policy makers might heed the importance of a high quality classroom as well, and consider implementing standards on quality. In addition, the evidence on the importance of vocabulary development presented previously should also encourage schools to implement strong vocabulary practices into their curriculum, as well as adequate instruments to assess the vocabulary development of young children. Future Research Directions Lessons learned in the present study provide a strong direction for future research. First, although the number of children was acceptable (n =102) , the numbers of classrooms used in the present study were very small (n =10). Many of the analyses could not be run in the typical fashion for not meeting the assumptions because of the small numbers. Because of the importance of this topic, future researchers should replicate the study using many more classrooms and schools, and select schools from various regional areas to increase the power of the findings. It is also recommended that future studies vary Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 191. 175 the conditions under which a study is conducted. For example, researcher may want to employ an experimental design with the use of a control group that would allow the researcher to examine the effects of an intervention on receptive vocabulary development. It would be beneficial to study the effects of early childhood curriculums on student outcomes, particularly the vocabulary development of second language learners. This would give an alternate perspective on the study. Also, it would be beneficial to conduct a study that lasted longer and collected data over the course of a calendar year instead of an academic year. Additionally, there are many instruments available to assess the classroom environment. The ECERS-R was chosen for the present study to gain an overall view of the quality of the classroom. Certain other instruments, like the ELLCO (Smith & Dickinson, 2002), may provide a better picture of the actual interactions that may be more important in helping children to increase their vocabularies. Other measures should be carefully considered when conducting a study exploring classroom quality and student outcomes to ensure the most powerful findings. Future studies may also utilize the Spanish version of the PPVT-III. Experts in the field of second language learning have long argued that English language learners Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 192. should be assessed in their native language to give an accurate representation of how much they are truly learning (Kochnoff, 2003; Espinosa, 2003). Although the present study strictly looked at vocabulary development in English, it may be beneficial for researchers to assess in both English and Spanish to explore the possibility of a relationship between classroom quality and student outcomes of second language learners. As Espinosa (2003) said, "The assessment results for language proficiency and native language ability can be misleading and underestimate the child's true language competency" (p. 6). Finally, future studies should reexamine the qualitative aspects of the study. The present study utilized teacher interviews in an attempt to connect their teaching practices to their classroom quality scores. However, some studies have argued that teachers are often unable to articulate why they are providing the types of experiences in a classroom setting (Schon, 1983; Cassidy & Lawrence, 2000). The questions utilized for this purpose should be carefully planned and field tested prior to being used in the actual study. Careful consideration would allow the researcher to obtain richer information from the participants in the study. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 193. Summary This chapter has presented a summary of the research findings, interpretations and discussions, implications, and recommendations for future research. Although this study found a significant negative correlation between the early childhood classroom environment and receptive vocabulary growth, it is the belief of the researcher that this occurred due to the small number of classrooms employed for the present study. The reasons for this small number were discussed previously, and recommendations for future research included using a larger sample. It has been found that both classroom quality and vocabulary development are important predictors of future academic success (Biemiller, 2006; Dickinson & Tabors, 2001; Hart & Risley, 1995; Storch & Whitehurst, 2002). Studies investigating this topic should be of utmost importance for educators and policy makers. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
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  • 207. (NCES 2006-062). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. La Paro, K. M. , Pianta, R. C., & Stuhlman, M. (2004). The classroom assessment scoring system: Findings from the prekindergarten year. The Elementary School Journal, 104, 409-420. Lau v. Nichols, 414 U.S. 563 (1974). Laufer, B, & Sim, D. (1985). Measuring and explaining the reading threshold needed for English for academic purposes texts. Foreign Language Annals, 18, 405-411. Lawhon, T. (2000) . Creating language and print awareness environments for young children. Contemporary Education, 71(3), 5-10. Liberman, I. (1983). A language-oriented view of reading and its disabilities. In H. Myklebust (Ed.), Progress in learning disabilities (pp. 81-101) . New York: Grune & Stratton. Love, J. M., Schochet, P. Z., & Meckstroth, A. (1996). Are they in real danger? What research does-and doesn't- tell us about child care quality and children's well­ being. Plainsboro, N J : Mathematica Policy Research. McBride-Chang, C., Wagner, R. K., Muse, A., Shu, H. (2005). The role of morphological awareness in children's Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 208. vocabulary acquisition in English. Applied Psycholinguistics, 26, 415-435. McCartney, K. (1984). Effect of quality of day care environment on children's language development. Developmental Psychology, 20, 244-260. McLaughlin, B., August, D., & Snow, C. (2000). Vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension in English language learners: Final performance report. Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Minkel, W. (2002). It's never too early. School Library Journal, 48{1), 38-42. Moore, L., & Brown, D. L. (2006, April). Classroom quality and student outcomes: Are they related? Paper presented at the annual Bill Martin, Jr. symposium, Texas A & M University-Commerce, Commerce, Tx. Mora, J. K., & Grisham, D. L. (2001). !What deliches tortillas! Preparing teachers for literacy instruction in linguistically diverse classrooms. Teacher Education Quarterly, 28, 51-70. Morrison, G. S., & Rusher, A. S. (1999). Playing to Learn. Dimensions of Early Childhood, 27(2), 3-8. Nagy, W. E., & Herman, P. A. (1987). Breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge: Implications for acquisition and Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 209. instruction. In M. G. McKeown & M. E. Curtis (Eds.), The nature of vocabulary acquisition (pp. 19-36). Hillsdale, N J : Lawrence Earlbaum Associates. Nagy, W. E., & Scott, J. A. (2000). Vocabulary processes. In M. L. Kamil, P. B. Mosenthal, P. D. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of reading research (pp. 269- 284). Mahwah, N J : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. National Center for Educational Statistics. (2005). State education data profiles. Retrieved August 14, 2005, from http://nces.ed.gov/programs/stateprofiles National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Early Child Care Research Network. (2000) . The relation of child care to cognitive and language development. Child Development, 71, 958-978. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Early Child Care Research Network. (2002) . The relation of global first grade classroom environment to structural classroom features and teacher and student behaviors. The Elementary School Journal, 102, 367-387. National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 210. 194 for reading instruction. Rockville, MD: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students. (2002). Survey of the state's limited English proficient students and available educational programs and services: 2000-2001 summary report. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition & Language Instruction Educational Programs. Pappamihiel, N. E. (2004). Hugs and smiles: Demonstrating caring in a multicultural early childhood classroom. Early Childhood Development & Care, 174, 539-549. Peisner-Feinberg, E. S., Burchinal, M. R., Clifford, R. M., Culkin, M. L., Howells, C. L., Kagan, S. L., & Yazejian, N. (2001) . The relation of preschool child care quality to children's cognitive and social developmental trajectories through second grade. Child Development, 12, 1534-1554. Pianta, R. C., & La Paro, K. (2003a). Improving Early School Success. Educational Leadership, 60(7), 24-30. Pianta, R. C., & La Paro, K. (2003b). CLASS: Classroom assessment scoring system. Charlottesville, NC: University of Virginia. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 211. Pressley, M. (2000) . What should comprehension instruction be the instruction of? In M. L. Kamil, P. B. Mosenthal, P. D.. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of reading research (pp. 545-561). Mahwah, N J : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Rasinski, T. R., & Padak, N. (2004). Effective reading strategies: Teaching children who find reading difficult (3rd Ed). Upper Saddle River, N J : Pearson Education. Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., Storm, M. D., Sawyer, B. E., Pianta, R. C., & La Paro, K. M. (2006). The teacher belief Q- sort: A measure of teachers' priorities in relation to disciplinary practices, teaching practices, and beliefs about children. Journal of School Psychology, 44(2), 141-165. Riojas-Cortez, M. (2001). Preschoolers' funds of knowledge displayed though sociodramatic play episodes in a bilingual classroom. Early Childhood Education Journal, 29(1), 35-40. Rodriguez-Valladares, M. (2003) . From the beginning...there needs to be light. Hispanic, 16(1), 20-24. Rosenblum, T., & Pinker, S. (1983). Word magic revisited: Monolingual and bilingual children's understanding of Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 212. word-object relationship. Child Development, 54, 773- 780. Roskos, K. , & Neuman, S. (2002). Environment and its influences for early literacy teaching and learning. In S. B. Neuman & D. K. Dickinson (Eds.), Handbook of early literacy research (pp. 281-294). New York: Guilford. Roth, F. P., Speece, D. L., & Cooper, D. H. (2002). A longitudinal analysis of the connection between oral language and early reading. The Journal of Educational Research, 95, 259-272. Rubin, H. J., & Rubin, I. S. (2005). Qualitative interviewing: The art of hearing data (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Schon, D. (1983) . The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books. Sheridan, S., & Schuster, K. (2001) (. Evaluation of pedagogical quality in early childhood education: A cross-national perspective. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 16{1) , 109-125. Smart Start and the North Carolina Partnership for Children: What is Smart Start? (2006) . Retrieved October 3, 2006, from http://www.smartstart- n c .org/about/whatissmartstart.htm Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 213. Smith, J., Brewer, D. M., & Heffner, T. (2003). Using portfolio assessments with young children who are at risk for school failure. Preventing School Failure, 48(1), 38. Smith, M. W. , & Dickinson, D. K. (2002). User's guide to the Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation toolkit: Research edition. Newton, MA: Brookes Publishing. Snow, C. E., Burns, M. S., & Griffin, P. (Eds.). (1998). Preventing reading difficulties in young children. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Snow, C. E., & Tabors, P. 0. (1993). Language skills that relate to literacy development. In B. Spodek, & 0. Saracho (Eds.), Yearbook in early childhood education (4th ed). New York: Teachers College Press. Stahl, S. A. (1999). Vocabulary development. Brookline, MA: P. A. Hutchison. Stahl, S. A., & Yaden, D. B., Jr. (2004) The development of literacy in preschool and primary grades: Work by the Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement. Elementary School Journal, 205(2), 141- 165. State Board for Educator Certification. (2006). Retrieved September 17, 2006, from www.sbec.state.tx.us Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 214. Storch, S. A., & Whitehurst, G. J. (2002). Oral language and code-related precursors to reading: Evidence from a longitudinal structural model. Developmental Psychology, 38(6), 934-947. Tabors, P. O., & Snow, C. E. (2002). Young bilingual children and early literacy development. In S. B. Neuman & D. K. Dickinson (Eds.), Handbook of early literacy research (pp. 159-179). New York: The Guilford Press. Texas Education Agency. (2005). Secondary school completion and dropouts in Texas public schools, 2003-04 (Document No. GEO5 601 07). Austin, TX: Texas Education Agency. Texas Education Agency. (2006). Student assessment division: LPAC decision-making process for the Texas assessment program (Grades 3-12) . Retrieved October 21r 2006, from http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/resource s/guides/lpac/ Torres, E. M. (2005). Creating a vision for supporting English language learners. Head Start Bulletin, 76(1), 2 1- 2 2 . U.S. Department of Education. (2002). No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Public Law 107-110-Jan.8, 2002, Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 215. 115STAT.1425- 115STAT.2094. Retrieved June 2, 2004, from http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/107- 110.pdf Verhallen, M., & Schoonen, R. (1993). Vocabulary knowledge of monolingual and bilingual children. Applied Linguistics, 14, 344-363. Wilkins, D. (1972). Linguistics in language teaching. London: Edward Arnold. Williams, L. R. (1996). Does practice lead to theory? Teachers' constructs about teaching: Bottom-up perspectives. In S. Reifel, & J. Chafel (Eds.), Advances in Early Education and Day Care (pp. 153- 184). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press. Wong-Fillmore, L. (1991). When learning a second language means losing the first. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 6, 323-346. Wong-Fillmore, L., & Snow, C. (2002). What teachers need to know about language. In C. Temple Adger, C. E. Snow, & D. Christian (Eds.), What teachers need to know about language (pp. 7-43) . McHenry , IL: Center for Applied Linguistics and Delta Systems. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 216. Appendix A 200 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 217. September IS, 2005 CrystalTorti TexasA&M University-Commerce DepartmentofElementaryEducation P.O.Box3011 Commerce, TX 75429 DearMs.Torti: Thisletteristo serveasformalapprovalforyoutodoresearchattheChildDevelopment CenterunderthedirectionofMs,DeborahCody. Pleasemakearrangementswith Ms. Codyforthecollectionoffoeresearch. Sincerely, SuperintendentofSchools W t P * flex I t 17 MountPteuttnl, Texas75456-1117 (903)575-2000 lax (903) 375-2014 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 218. Appendix B Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 219. 203 Crystal Torti: Let me begin with an apology; although we were prompt in holding the Full Board meeting, I am aware that we have not been prompt in finalizing your approval. At any rate, the Texas A & M University - Commerce IRB has now reviewed your submission "The relationship between the quality of the early childhood classroom environment and vocabulary development in young children learning English as a second language" and is pleased to approve it contingent upon all your materials being received by Natalie Henderson in a form suited to her needs. This may already have been done, but please verify the matter with Natalie. Please be advised that this approval is for a period of one year and that any substantive changes to your protocol during this period should be submitted for additional review to the University IRB. If you study extends beyond one year, you should submit a request to the IRB for a continuation. This continuation must be approved by the IRB before the research can proceed. If your participants encounter any adverse events during the execution of your research protocol, you must promptly report these to the IRB. Tracy Henley, IRB Chair Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 220. Appendix C Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 221. 205 m i i m i u j i tmurmurschoolbijtbict TerryMyers, SuperintendentofSchools September 12,2005 CrystalTorti TexasA&M Universlty-Commarce Departmentof Elementary Education P.O. Box3011 Commerce. TX 75429 EfoarMs. ToriJ: I have discussed yourproposalto conduct researchforyourdissertation atthe Mt Pleasant t.S.D. Child DevelopmentCenterwith Mr. Terry Myers, Superintendentof Schools. Hehasgiven me permissionto goforward with yourplans to Studythe preschool classrooms Inourdistrict. I alsograntyou permission to conductthis study and Iwill look forwardto meetingyou in thenearfuture. Respectfully, Deborah Cody, Principal dcodv@mpisd.net Mi PtMtant Independent School District Chid DsvatopmsntCenter 1802WestFerguson Road P.O. Boa 1117 Mt. Pleasant, Texas 76456-1117 903478.2092 903475.2077 Fax Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 222. Appendix D Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 223. 207 Dear Preschool Teacher: I am a graduate student studying for my Doctorate in Elementary Education in Supervision, Curriculum, and Instruction with an emphasis in Reading. This letter is written to request permission to conduct a study which involves young children who are learning English as their second language in your classroom. The purpose of this study is to determine the extent in which classroom quality influences the acquisition of vocabulary and language development of young children learning English as their second language. The Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale- Revised Edition (ECERS-R) will be used to measure the classroom quality. Further, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised (PPVT-R) will be used to measure the language development of students. In addition, interviews with the teachers of the children will be conducted in order to elicit educational philosophies of teaching English Language Learners. There are several anticipated benefits of the study. For example, educators and parents can gain better insight into which environments prove conducive to language development. The results can also offer help in designing preschool environments and instruction to best ensure language acquisition in young children learning English as their second language. Finally, educators can offer suggestions for home environments that will encourage language development at home for young children. Please understand that there is a minimal risk factor anticipated in this study, which is not greater than that ordinarily encountered in daily life. Participation■in this study is voluntary, and information gained about children will be considered confidential and private, and will not be shared with anybody who is not directly involved with the research effort. In addition, the names of the children will not be used in the information gathered for the study. The results of this study will only be shared as aggregated summaries, and no individual responses, identities, or identifying information will be shared. If you can, please sign and return the attached consent form. I would greatly appreciate a timely response to this request. Thank you for your interest. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 224. 208 Sincerely, Crystal Torti Mailing Address: Texas A & M University- Commerce Department of ELED PO Box 3011 Commerce, TX 75429 cdtorti@yahoo.com If you have any questions, please contact the Chairperson of the University IRB; Tracey Henley, Ph. D. University Protection of Human Subjects Committee Department of Psychology and Special Education Texas A & M University- Commerce Email: thenley@tamu-commerce.edu Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 225. 209 CONSENT FORM FOR PRESCHOOL TEACHER It is understood that __________ agrees to participate in this study and hereby authorizes Crystal Torti to use information obtained during the survey for educational purposes. It is understood that participation in this study is completely voluntary. It is also understood that the teachers' and students' names will be kept confidential and private. Furthermore, the information provided about the children will not be attached or connected to either my name or the children's names. It is further understood that any information shared about the children and me will not be shared with anyone who is not directly involved with the study. Also, the results of the study will only be shared as aggregated summaries and no individual responses, identities, or identifying information will be shared. Signature: _______ Date: ____ _/_____ / Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 226. Appendix E Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 227. 211 Dear Parents: I am a doctoral student at Texas A & M University Commerce. I am interested in conducting a study in your child's preschool classroom. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects that a quality classroom environment has on second language acquisition in a preschool classroom. This study will involve two measures or instruments. The Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-Revised is a scale designed to rate the environment in the preschool classroom. This measure is designed to look at the classroom environment and the interactions of the children. The second measure is the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test- Revised. This scale will measure the vocabulary words in English that your child knows. This scale will be administered individually in the classroom setting. Your child will be shown a booklet containing pictures that he/she will be asked to identify. Please understand that your permission is voluntary, and that you are free to withdraw your child from participation in the study at any time without penalty. The risk factor anticipated in the study is not greater than those encountered in every day life. Any information gathered about your child will be considered confidential and private, and will not be shared with anybody who is not directly involved with the research effort. In addition, the name of your child will not be used in the information gathered for the study. The results of this study will only be shared as collective summaries. No individual responses, identities, or identifying information will be shared. Please keep in mind that your consent has a critical role for me to reach my purpose. There are several anticipated benefits of the study. For example, educators and parents can gain better insight into which environments prove conducive to language development. The results can also offer help in designing preschool environments and instruction to best ensure language acquisition in young children learning English as their second language. Finally, educators can offer suggestions for home environments that will encourage language development at home for young children. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 228. 212 The only thing that you need to do is sign and return the attached consent letter to your child's teacher. Thank you for your interest. Sincerely, Crystal Torti Mailing Address: 4203 CR 4413 Commerce, TX 7542 8 cdtorti@yahoo.com If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Chairperson of the University IRB; Tracey Henley, Ph. D. University Protection of Human Subjects Committee (IRB) Department of Psychology and Special Education Texas A Sc M University- Commerce Email: thenley@tamu-commerce.edu Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 229. 213 CONSENT FORM FOR PARENTS It is understood that ________ agrees to participate in the study and hereby authorizes Crystal Torti to use information obtained during the survey for educational purposes. It is understood that my child's participation in this study is completely voluntary, and I have the right to refuse to give consent for the use of.my child as a subject. It is further understood that I am free to withdraw my child from participation in the study at any time without penalty. It is also understood that my child's name will be kept confidential and private. Furthermore, the information gathered will not be attached or connected to my child's name. It is understood that any information about my child will not be shared with anyone who is not directly involved with the study. Also, the results of the study will only be shared as aggregated summaries and no individual responses, identities, or identifying information will be shared. Signature: _____________________ - Child's Name:______________________ Date : _____ /_____ /_____ Crystal Torti Mailing Address: 4203 CR 4413 Commerce, TX 75428 cdtorti@yahoo.com If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Chairperson of the University IRB; Tracey Henley, Ph. D. University Protection of Human Subjects Committee (IRB) Department of Psychology and Special Education Texas A & M University- Commerce Email: thenley@tamu-commerce.edu Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 230. 214 (Spanish Letter and Consent) A LOS PADRES Estimado ______ Soy un estudiante universitario de Texas A & M - Commerce estudiando para sacar mi doctorado. Estoy interesada en conduciendo un estudio en el salon preescolar de su hijo/a. El proposito de este estudio de para examinar los efectos del clima y del ambiente en la adquisicion de un segundo idioma en la clase preescolar. Este estudio usara dos tipos de instrumentos para medir los resultados. El primero de los dos instrumentos que se usaran es la Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-Revised esta escala de grado esta disenada para medir el ambiente del salon preescolar. Esta escala esta disenada para observar el ambiente y las interacciones de los ninos. El segundo instrumento es el Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised. Esta escala mide el vocabulario que su hijo/a ya sabe en ingles. Este instrumento de escala sera administrado individualmente en la clase. Se le ensenara a su hijo/a un libro que contiene dibujos que se le pedira que identifique. Por favor comprenda que su permiso es voluntario. La probabilidad de algun elemento de riesgo anticipado con este estudio no es mas que el elemento de riesgo que hay en la vida diaria. Participacion en este estudio es completamente voluntario y cualquier informacion que se recibe de su hijo/a sera totalmente privada y confidencial y no sera compartida con ninguna persona que no esta directamente envuelto en el estudio universitario. Ademas, el nombre de su hijo/a no va ser usado en la informacidn juntada para el estudio. Los resultados del estudio solamente van a ser compartidos como una coleccion de resumenes. No se van a compartir respuestas individuales, la identidad o cualquier otra informacion en la cual se pueda identificar su hijo/a. Por favor recuerde que su permiso es critico y de suma importancia para yo poder completar mi proposito. Hay varios beneficios anticipados con este estudio. Por ejemplo, educadores y padres podran aprovechar/ganar un mejor discernimiento del amiente que es mas conducente al desarrollo del segundo idioma. Los resultados podrdn ofrecer ayuda para mejor disenar ambientes e instruccidn Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 231. 215 preescolar que asegurara la adquisicion del idioma para estudiantes de ESL (Ingles como Segundo Idioma). Finalmente, educadores podrdn ofrecer sugerencias para el ambiente del hogar que anima el desarrollo del idioma en ninos pequenos que estan aprendiendo ingles como un segundo idioma. Lo unico que necesita hacer es firmar y regresar la forma de consentimiento al maestro de su hijo/a. Gracias por su interes. Sinceramente, Crystal Torti Mailing Address: 4203 CR 4413 Commerce, TX 75428 cdtorti@yahoo.com Si tiende algunas preguntas, favor de comuniquese con el presidente de IRB de la universidad; Dr. Tracy Henley Comite de la proteccion de sujetos humanos (IRB) Departamento de psicologia y educacion especial Texas A & M University- Commerce Correo electronico: thenley@tamu-commerce.edu Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 232. 216 Es entendido que _______________________________ , esta de acuerdo de participar en este estudio y por este medio autoriza a Crystal Torti de usar la informacion obtenida durante este estudio con el proposito educacional. Es entendido que la participacion de mi hijo/a en este estudio es completamente voluntaria y tengo el derecho de negar permiso de la participacidn de mi hijo/a como sujeto en este estudio. Tambien es entendido que el nombre o cualquier otra informacion que se pueda usar para poder identificar a mi hijo/a no sera compartido o conectada con mi hijo/a de cualquier manera. Comprendo que la informacion obtenida no va ser compartida con ninguna persona que no este directamente envuelto con el estudio. Finalmente, los resultados del estudio solamente van a ser compartidos como una coleccidn de resumenes. No se van a compartir respuestas individuales, identidades o cualquier otra informacion que se pueda usar para identificar al hijo/a. Signature: __________________________ Child's Name:______________________ Date : _____ /_____ /_____ Crystal Torti Mailing Address: 4203 CR 4413 Commerce, TX 75428 cdtorti@yahoo.com Si tiende algunas preguntas, favor de comuniquese con el presidente de IRB de la universidad; Dr. Tracy Henley Comite de la proteccion de sujetos humanos (IRB) Departamento de psicologia y educacion especial Texas A & M University- Commerce Correo electronico: thenley@tamu-commerce Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 233. Appendix F Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 234. 218 Torti Research Study Teacher Demographic Survey Date:---------------------- FirstName:---------------------------- Last Name:------------------ Center: MPISD CDC 1. Sex: Male — Female 2. Age: Under 30----- 30-39------- 40-49------ 50-59---- .. 60+---- 2. Ethnicity: AfricanAmerican Hispanic Caucasian Asian------ Other-------- 3. Total years experience as a Teacher: 0-5---- 6-10------ 11-15------ 16-20----- 21+ — — 4. Years of experience as a preschool/Headstart teacher: 0-5-- 6-10--- 11-15--- 16-20--- 21+— 5. Total Years with LEAP Curriculum: TotalYears — 6. Do you have a Teacher Assistant? Aide? Yes No PartTime— 7. Number of full time teachers in center----------------- 8. Language of Instruction: English-------------- Spanish---------------- Other------- 9. Average number of children in your class? Number of teachers for the class ------ 10. Certification area (check all that apply): EarlyChildhood-------- ElementaryEducation------- SpecialEducation---------- Bilingual/ESLEducation--------- Other------ 11. Identify the highest degree or Certificate you currently hold: Bachelors Masters— — Masters+ Other:— ---- Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 235. Appendix G Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 236. 220 May 31, 2005 Dear Crystal Torti, Thank you for completing the AGS Test Qualification Form. AGS Publishing is committed to maintaining professional standards in testing. To reduce the possibility of test misuse, we adhere to the principles presented in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing published by the AERA, APA, and NCME. In particular, test users are responsible for limiting their use of tests to those for which they have appropriate training and experience. Your credentials meet our qualifications to purchase Level B test materials. You may purchase any Level A or Level B test. If you are not currently qualified to purchase higher level test materials, and you complete additional coursework in individual psychological assessment in the future which you feel would qualify you to do so, please resubmit the Test Qualification Form with the additional information. Thank you for your interest in AGS Publishing test materials! Sincerely, Fran Tompkins AGS Customer Service Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 237. Appendix H Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 238. Half-Day Classroom Schedule AM Class 8:00- 8:20 Breakfast 8:20- 8:25 Transition 8:25- 10:10 Instructional Time 10:10- 10:25 Recess 10:25- 10:50 Lunch 10:50- 11:00 Prepare for dismissal 11:00 Dismissal 11:00- 12:00 Teacher Lunch/conference PM Class 12:10- 12:45 Lunch 12:45- 1:05 Recess 1:05- 2:55 Instructional Time 2:55- 3:00 Prepare fordismissal 3:00 Dismissal Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 239. Full-Day Classroom Schedule 7:45- 8:30 Table Toys/Bathroom 8:30- 8:45 Circle Time/Wash Hands 8:45- 8:55 Bathroom 8:55- 9:15 Breakfast 9:20- 9:40 Playground 9:40- 9:55 Circle Time/Head Start- Brush Teeth 10:00- 11:30 Centers 11:30- 11:50 Story Time/Singing 11:53- 12:18 Lunch 12:20- 12:40 Playground 12:40- 12:50 Bathroom/Story Time 12:50- 1:00 Circle Time 1:00- 2:10 Naptime 2:10- 2:30 Wake up/Bathroom/Wash Hands 2:30- 2:40 Snacks 2:40- 2:50 Story Time/Singing 2:50 Kids to bus/Outside Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 240. VITA Crystal Torti was born on July 27, 1978, in Hobbs, New Mexico. The daughter of Reba Lindsey and Gary and Terry Bell, Crystal grew up in west Texas and graduated from Chapel Hill High School in Tyler, Texas. She moved back to west Texas to attend Sul Ross State. University. She received her Bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and received her Master's degree as a Reading Specialist from Sul Ross. She taught third grade in Presidio, Texas. In 2003, Crystal and her husband relocated to Commerce, Texas, so that she could pursue her Doctorate in Education. She worked as a full time Graduate Assistant at Texas A & M University-Commerce while pursuing her Doctorate. During her tenure as a GA, she taught Reading courses in the Elementary Education Department and served as an editorial assistant for the Journal of Literacy Research. Crystal Torti is currently a fifth grade reading teacher at Farmersville Intermediate School in Farmersville, Texas. In 2001, Crystal married C.J. Torti of Wimberley, Texas. They have two dogs, Quilla and Rocco. Crystal enjoys spending time with her husband and their two dogs. 224 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
  • 241. Permanent Address: 1424 Reiger Drive Greenville, Texas 75401 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.