Evaluation of Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL) Professional Development

Primary Researchers: Johannes Bos, Raquel Sanchez

Publication Date: March 2012


English language proficiency is critical to academic achievement in the United States. For several decades, educators and policymakers have explored strategies to ensure that English language learner students have access to rigorous academic content as much as non–English language learner students.

Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL) is an approach to improving the teaching of English language learner students at the secondary level. QTEL targets the teachers of English language learner students classified as limited English proficient and those reclassified as fluent English proficient and placed in mainstream classrooms. By enhancing the ability of teachers to work with English language learner students, the intervention also seeks to increase the quality of instruction for all other students in the mainstream classroom. QTEL summer institutes consist of seven days of professional development group sessions to provide a foundation for using new tools and processes for the academic and linguistic development of adolescent English language learner students.

The study was a school-level randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of QTEL using an intent-to-treat model. The goal of this study was to determine whether QTEL is effective in teaching English as a second language in U.S. middle schools. The results intend to inform policy decisions on professional development for teachers of English language learner students[1].

The study team estimated QTEL’s effects on student outcomes in English language arts and English language development, as measured by the California Standards Test and the California English Language Development Test. The sample included middle schools in urban and suburban areas of three Southern California counties, the English language arts and English language development teachers in these schools, and their students. The study was conducted from 2007-2010.

The research questions included:

  1. What is the impact of QTEL on English language learner students’ standardized test scores in English language arts among all grade 8 English language learner students attending intervention schools at the end of 3 years?
  2. What is the impact of QTEL on teacher instructional knowledge?
  3. What is the impact of QTEL on teacher attitudes toward English language learner students?

The data included student standardized test scores and various teacher measures. To examine student outcomes for the primary research questions, California Standards Test for English Language Arts and California English Language Development Test scores were collected for students in grades 6, 7, and 8.

To estimate program impacts, outcomes for students and teachers in intervention-group schools were compared with those for students and teachers in control-group schools. Multilevel regression models were used to analyze the effects of QTEL.

The complete study findings can be found in both the Executive Summary and the full report here.


[1] In this study, English language learner includes students classified as limited English proficient and those classified as such in the past but have been reclassified as fluent English proficient.

  • Published: March 2012
  • Methodologies: Experimental
  • Contact info:
    Neal Finkelstein 415.615.3171


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