Dr. Trina Spencer and her research team are wrapping up one funded project and preparing for the next one!

Institute for Human Development, Arizona University Center on Disabilities
Northern Arizona University

DDNN Summer 2014

Trina SpencerAt the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, 232 culturally and linguistically diverse kindergarten students were screened for literacy needs using an innovative dynamic assessment tool. Their results indicate that this new assessment method drastically reduces the over-identification of culturally and linguistically diverse kindergartners as having learning difficulties. Dr. Spencer’s team found that only 1-2% of the kindergarteners were misclassified compared with 30-50% who are often misclassified using other kindergarten screening tools. In the course of this project, 21 undergraduate and graduate students from NAU participated. They conducted the assessments, collected and scored data, and served as interventionists for 66 kindergarten students in need of phonemic awareness and language interventions.

In August 2014, Dr. Spencer will begin a new three-year project funded by the Institute for Education Sciences (IES). She will partner with Northern Arizona Council of Governments (NACOG) Head Start to develop a dual language multi-tiered curriculum. The research team will collaborate with Head Start teachers and families to develop and validate a Spanish and English program for use with Spanish-speaking preschoolers. The goal of this research is to promote the development of children’s home language as well as the language of instruction in schools. Funds will allow the Institute for Human Development (IHD) to expand its research department. If you are interested in learning more about research at the IHD, contact Dr. Spencer at Trina.Spencer@nau.edu.