Effects of self-regulation on science vocabulary acquisition of third grade English language learners
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of self-regulation on the acquisition of academic vocabulary of ELLs with learning difficulties. Participants were four third-grade Spanish-speaking ELLs who performed below grade level on a vocabulary test in English and scored below 25% accuracy on a science vocabulary measure. This study employed a multiple probe design across subjects and it consisted of four phases: (a) baseline, (b) self-regulation training, (c) self-regulation, and (d) maintenance. During baseline, participants were provided direct vocabulary instruction. During training, self-regulation with prompts was added to the direct instruction and, during intervention, prompts were removed. The intervention continued until the maintenance phase. Each lesson included instruction of six target words followed by daily tests of those six words. Each session lasted 30-35 minutes, divided into 26-30 minutes for the lesson, followed by 4-5 minutes for testing. This study was conducted over 15 weeks; all lessons were implemented using a script. To document students’ progress on the acquisition of science vocabulary, two daily vocabulary tests were administered during every session. One was a receptive word-knowledge test to measure how many words students understood. The other was an expressive word-knowledge test to measure how well the students understood the words. Furthermore, student interviews were conducted after completion of the study. Results revealed that self-regulation in conjunction with direct instruction was more effective than direct instruction alone not only on receptive word knowledge, but also on expressive word knowledge. Also, students showed a long-term effect in the acquisition of the both types word knowledge. Students had a positive perception of self-regulation, although they preferred different sub-strategies (self-goal setting, self-monitoring, and self-recording). These findings suggest that ELLs with learning difficulties need an intensive intervention beyond direct instruction alone and self-regulation is a critical strategy in formulating such an intensive intervention.