Model Demonstration Coordination Center

Cohort 5 Model Demonstration Projects

University of Texas at Austin, Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk

English Language Learner Institute for Teaching and Excellence (Project ELITE)

Project ELITE implemented, iteratively evaluated, and refined a response to intervention model designed to ensure that all students, including English language learners (ELLs), become adequately proficient readers and users of English during primary school. The multitiered framework encompassed (a) screening, (b) progress monitoring, (c) data-based decisionmaking, (d) research-based core instruction, and (e) evidence-based interventions, all implemented within the context of culturally responsive pedagogy.

The model was designed and implemented in collaboration with a rural school district in central Texas. A critical component of the ELITE project was the formation of a technical advisory group of district and school leaders who met regularly with project staff to review formative data and refine the model so that it was optimized for ELLs. In addition, teachers engaged in ongoing professional development on oral language, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, listening and reading comprehension, and writing with consideration for the contextual, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds of students and families.

The goal of the ELITE project was to increase knowledge about the implementation and efficacy of multitiered instructional frameworks and their components to determine whether and to what extent they might

  1. Improve reading achievement and language development for ELLs with or at risk of having a disability
  2. Assist educators in determining whether ELLs who are experiencing reading difficulties have a disability. 

Contact Information

Gregory Roberts, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator
University of Texas at Austin


Sharon Vaughn, Ph.D.
Co-Principal Investigator
University of Texas at Austin


Leticia Grimaldo
Co-Principal Investigator
University of Texas at Austin



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