A UMass Dartmouth assistant professor has received a grant of almost $800,000 to advance science and technology education for English Language Learners.

Dr. Shakhnoza Kayumova of the Kaput Center for Research and Innovation in STEM Education received the $778,700 grant from the National Science Foundation through the prestigious CAREER Award for Faculty Early Career Development.

Entitled “Analyzing the Nexus between Advantaged Social Positioning and Science Identity Development Among English Language Learners,” the project includes development of data that will support the teaching of ELL students as they grapple with language acquisition and understanding the content of their science education.

"This is going to be a big challenge in communities such as New Bedford, Fall River and Taunton," Dr. Kayumova told WBSM News, "Because the success of the students in developing the knowledge and skills for 21st century jobs will lead to economic success for these communities."

Dr. Kayumova previously studied similar problems in Georgia, and hopes to continue her research here in Massachusetts.

"How they are growing language identities has an impact on their science identity is going to be one of the first innovative ways to understand why there are disparities between the language, and the content they are learning," she said.

Dr. Kayumova said the study will take a few years, but that she hopes to be able to implement strategies in local schools as soon as they prove viable.

"This is a longitudinal process," she said. "We will be studying students for over three years, but we will be producing a new method for teachers so that they can recognize and promote competent science performance in English Language Learners immediately."


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