Kathy Escamilla, PhD
My research interests center on educational issues related to Spanish speaking language minority students in U.S. public schools. Four major areas of my research interests include: (1) language and literacy acquisition of Spanish speaking students in bilingual programs; ( 2) sociolinguistic and sociocultural contexts of classrooms and schools with large numbers of Spanish speaking students, including research on teacher preparation to understand how it affects program implementation and impact on schools; (3) acquisition of literacy in Spanish including the reconstruction of English reading programs into Spanish.; and (4) the impact of high-stakes testing on students who are learning English as a second language.
Language and Literacy Acquisition of Spanish Speaking Students in Bilingual Programs
My interest in language and literacy acquisition focuses on how programs
such as bilingual education affect the English language and literacy acquisition
of Spanish speaking students. However, I am equally interested in ways
that bilingual programs affect the maintenance and development of Spanish,
as well as English, and signs of language shift and language loss. In
this general area, I have published three articles in refereed journals
and three book chapters. The articles appeared in The Hispanic Journal
of Behavioral Sciences (1992, 1993), and Urban Education (1993).
The book chapters appeared in A Compendium of Readings in Bilingual
Education (1994), Literacy: A Redefinition (1994), and The
Power of Two Languages: Literacy and Biliteracy for Spanish Speaking Children
(1993). This work documents that, for children in bilingual programs,
learning in Spanish does not retard or delay the acquisition of English.
My research in this area has also raised questions with
regard to the wholesale carrying over of English language reading approaches
into Spanish. The teaching of Spanish reading is dominated by English
reading methodologies. I am currently studying this pervasive, largely
unexamined practice by examining literacy instruction and assessment in
bilingual programs. Results of this research have been published as book
chapters in The Power of Two Languages (1999), and The Handbook
for Literacy Assessment for Bilingual Learners (2001), and as two articles in refereed journals on the need to include Latino children’s literature in elementary bilingual literacy programs (Equity and Excellence in Education, 2003; Bilingual Research Journal, 2003).
Study of Sociolinguistic and Sociocultural Environments of Bilingual/ESL Schools
My research in this area has addressed sociolinguistic questions such
as language use, distribution, and status in schools and classrooms where
there are Spanish/English bilingual education programs. My published work
in this area appears in Educational Policy (1999), Educational
Considerations (1999), The Urban Review (1995), The Bilingual
Research Journal (1994), The Journal of Educational Issues of Language
Minority Students (1992), and Children of La Frontera: Binational
Programs for Mexican Migrant and Immigrant Students (1996). Additional work in this area included an analysis of Colorado’s Amendment 31, which would have outlawed bilingual education in public schools. This research was published in the Bilingual Research Journal in 2003.
In 1997 I began a five-year project, with Dr. Leonard Baca,
funded by the U.S. Office of Education and Research Improvement (OERI)
through the Center for Research, Diversity and Excellence in Education
Center (CREDE) at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The study
examined teacher preparation programs at six institutions of higher education
to document how these universities are preparing teachers to be effective
in teaching linguistically and culturally diverse students.
Study of the Acquisition of Literacy in Spanish
My research in this area focuses on the study of early literacy development
for Spanish speaking children, in their native language, including an
analysis of an early intervention reading program designed to help first
grade students who are struggling readers. The Descubriendo La Lectura
program is a conceptual reconstruction of the English reading program
Reading Recovery. I began this study in 1988. Over the past eleven years,
it has grown from one project in one state to involve eight states and
167 school districts. These projects are a collaboration with a national
network of scholars and practitioners who are part of the Reading Recovery
Council of North America.
This work has resulted in the publication of one book, five
articles in refereed journals and two book chapters. The book, Instrumento
de Observación de los Logros de la Lecto-escritura Inicial
(1996) is now in its third printing. The articles appeared in, Education
and Urban Society (1992), NABE Conference Proceedings (1992),
Literacy, Teaching, and Learning (1994, 1994, 1998). The book chapters
appeared in Research on Reading Recovery (1997), and Early Intervention
and Early Literacy (1998).
The Impact of High Stakes Testing on Limited English Proficient Students
I have just finished a three year project with Drs. Leonard Baca, Janette Klingner
and John Hoover that examines the impact that high stakes testing (Colorado
Student Assessment Program, CSAP) has on limited English proficient students
in Colorado. This project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education,
Office of English Language Acquisition will look at outcomes related to
the CSAP and limited English proficient (LEP) students and will also explore
opportunities to learn for these LEP students. The technical report for this project will be complete in January 2005. Four monographs have been written and published from this work (by the Colorado Association for Bilingual Education, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003), and one refereed journal article has been published on this research (Bilingual Research Journal, 2003).