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Paola Uccelli is professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. With a background in developmental linguistics, she studies socio-cultural and individual differences in multilingual and monolingual students’ language development throughout the school years. Her research focuses, in particular, on identifying which high-utility language skills and resources (at the lexical, grammatical, and discourse levels) support reading and writing in school; and on the design and evaluation of interventions that both affirm and amplify students’ voices. Her current projects focus on describing individual trajectories of school-relevant language development; on the design and validation of a digital research instrument to assess school-relevant language skills in elementary and middle school students; on understanding how monolingual and multilingual speakers and writers learn to use a variety of discourse structures flexibly and effectively for diverse communicative and learning purposes; and on the collaborative design of educational approaches that expand students’ language resources via multidisciplinary, culturally affirming approaches. Her research has been funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, the Lemann Foundation, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, the Instituto Cervantes, among others. Her work has been published in various academic journals, such as Child Development, Journal of Child Language, Applied Psycholinguistics, Reading Research Quarterly and AERA Open. She conducts her research projects in partnership with other investigators and educators in schools in the U.S. and in various other countries, especially in Latin America. Uccelli studied linguistics at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and subsequently earned her doctoral degree in Human Development and Psychology at Harvard University. Being a native of Peru, she is particularly interested in Latin America where she collaborates with local researchers and often participates in research conferences and workshops. For more information visit the Language for Learning research team site, which she leads.
Click here to see a full list of Paola Uccelli's courses.
This project will develop and validate a computer-adaptive version of Core Academic Language Skills Instrument (CALS-I.1) for use with both English proficient (EP) and English learner (EL) students in grades 4 through 8. CALS-I.1 is an existing assessment that has been validated to predict EP students' reading comprehension skills based on their performance with academic vocabulary. However, CALS-I.1 was not developed for use with EL students. Research indicates that ELs typically become proficient in basic reading skills and in colloquial language skills at rates similar to their native English-speaking peers, but they lag behind in developing the academic vocabulary necessary in the upper elementary years and beyond to understand increasingly complex academic texts. This project will develop an assessment tool to help teachers identify possible vocabulary difficulties for both EP and EL students, in order to address potential reading comprehension barriers. Co-Principal Investigators: Christopher Barr, Emily Phillips Galloway and Jeremy Miciak.