Professor Michael Gerber of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School has been awarded a 2011 Chicano Studies Institute (CSI) Grant for work on the project “Growth Models of School Achievement Risk for English Learners.”
The CSI grant will support Gerber’s unusual 10-year retrospective analysis of academic growth by a large cohort of Spanish-speaking, English Learners who participated in a short-term longitudinal research project in 2000-03 (kindergarten through 2nd grade). That project -- La Patera -- investigated the relationship between early (kindergarten) pre-reading (predictor) skills involving manipulation of phonemes (i.e., speech sounds) and later (2nd grade) fluency in reading (decoding) English words. At that time, it had been well demonstrated that measures of early phonemic awareness were predictive of later word reading for native English speakers and that early interventions for students who experienced the most difficulty could narrow or eliminate later reading skill differences between groups. In his proposal Gerber writes, “I can find no study similar to what I propose in the current literature. In fact, few, if any, longitudinal studies of English learners over a 10-year period have been published at all.”
Michael Gerber is currently a Professor of Education, and contributing faculty in the Special Education, Disabilities, and Risk and the Educational Leadership and Organizations emphases, both in the Education Department of the Gevirtz School. From 2005-2009 he was the chair of the Department of Education. Gerber has been the director of a Center for Advanced Studies of Individual Differences in the Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research (ISBER). He is also a founding member of UCSB’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Emphasis in Cognitive Science. He is the current president of the Division for Learning Disabilities in the Council for Exceptional Children. He is also the chair of the steering committee for an UC-wide Center for Research on Special Education, Disabilities, and Developmental Risk.