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Teacher Study Groups

Title: Professional Development in Academic Vocabulary on Observed Teaching Practice and Academic Vocabulary Knowledge of English Learners in 8th Grade Social Studies Classrooms


Purpose: The purpose of the Effective Teachers and Effective Teaching – Goal 3 Replication study is to assess the impact of the TSG professional development program in academic vocabulary on (a) observed teaching practice and (b) academic vocabulary outcomes of English learners when implemented with 8th grade teachers in Title I schools, in the context of their social studies curriculum (i.e., American history). This Goal 3 study  (grant # R305A150463) is being funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. The PI for this study is Russell Gersten; the co-PIs include Joseph Dimino and Madhavi Jayanthi.


Design: The design for this study is a multi-site cluster randomized trial. Sixty-two schools will be randomly assigned to treatment and control conditions within districts. The sample for the study is likely to include 186 8th-grade teachers of American history and their students, estimated to be around 4,650 students, with a subsample of 1,488 English learners. Teachers in treatment schools will receive the TSG professional development program. The control condition (business-as-usual) constitutes school- or district-instituted professional development in academic vocabulary and related areas given to teachers at schools. Teachers in the control schools will not participate in the TSG professional development. 


Timeline: The study will be conducted over three years: 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years. During each school year, different schools will be participating in the study. 


More Information:


Benefits for Teachers and Schools from Participating in the Study

  • Free professional development to 8th grade American history teachers at no cost to district, schools, or teachers

  • $500 stipend for teachers and $750 stipend for facilitators

  • Teachers receive lesson plans for teaching academic vocabulary relevant for American history

  • Teachers receive a book on research based vocabulary techniques

  • Facilitator receives training in leading teacher groups. 

  • Curricular content of professional development sessions is aligned with state standards in social studies and literacy

  • Professional development will help build  capacity in schools in teaching academic vocabulary 

  • Schools get one-year membership to National Council for the Social Studies (Benefits include six issues of the journal Social Education in the mail; online access for three of your staff to the online magazine Middle Level Learning; access to years of back issues of both publications; discounts on NCSS meetings and publications; and more. Visit 


Alignment to State Standards:


Frequently Asked Questions


Sample issue of NCSS Middle Level Learning



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