Spring 2018



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Julia Reimer

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Ann Mabbott

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Scott Endo


Two research questions were investigated in this case study: How are 5th grade ELs’ performances on an objective portion of a science quiz on erosion and deposition affected after discussing concepts with a teacher and writing about these concepts? How are 5th grade ELs’ written explanations of erosion and deposition and use of genre-specific language structures affected after conferencing with a teacher about these concepts? Science literacy is for all, but many ELs struggle to learn science content. The literature points to academic language of science and its hierarchical knowledge structures as barriers to learning. Best practices to support ELs in science are explored. Writing, appropriately scaffolded, is a useful tool for learning content. Further, conferencing with students on writing and science content is an effective way to offer feedback. A short, targeted, objective quiz with a writing task was administered to nine ELs and recently exited EL participants. The same quiz was administered to non-ELs for comparison. ELs received treatment during one session—a one-on-one conference with mini-lessons about targeted science content and an opportunity to write. Quiz results before and after treatment and field notes taken during treatment were data points used to inform answers to the research questions. After treatment, data show that ELs’ quiz results were indistinguishable from those of their non-EL counterparts. Most participants improved in their written explanations and use of academic language. Implications, limitations and ideas for further research are offered.

Research Methodology

Case Study


Achievement, ESL/ ELLs, Science, Writing

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Education Commons