Academic language can be a major obstacle to students’ learning in science and math. For English Language Learners this challenge can be even greater. One reason this challenge prevails is the persistent deficit perspective toward students whose native language is Spanish. One way to address this issue is to leverage students’ knowledge of Spanish and personal culture to develop a deeper understanding of academic vocabulary in high school math and science courses. Project ACCESS (Acquisition of Curricular Content for Exceptional Success in STEM) seeks to challenge the assumptions and biases toward students in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) who have been marginalized in their STEM classes and are underrepresented in STEM. Specifically, Project ACCESS is (1) creating a consortium to examine P-16 STEM education practices in the RGV and (2) developing, implementing, and testing the use of multiple vocabulary strategies (MVS) in high school math and science classrooms. Results from Phase 1 indicate that MVS are highly effective in high school algebra, anatomy, and biology but have limited effectiveness in chemistry and physics. In addition, efforts to address STEM education issues in the RGV are well underway. Research findings, progress toward STEM education consortium efforts, and next steps are discussed.
Chapman, A. M. (2019). Project ACCESS: High School Student Learning of Academic Vocabulary in the Rio Grande Valley. Greater Texas Foundation. https://www.greatertexasfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Chapman-Final-2019.pdf
Greater Texas Foundation