Policies in Nevada Education Journal: 2017 Volume Available Now!

The College of Education is committed to engaging in research and evaluation efforts that align with contemporary legislative issues. Outputs of these efforts are periodically presented to Nevada legislators to help inform work concerning education-related issues.

College of Education faculty produced ten policy papers on key legislative issues during the 2017 Nevada Legislative Session. These papers are presented to legislators and stakeholders in advance of the session, and provided non-partisan research and key conclusions.

The full journal is available here, or summaries of each of the topics are available here.

March 18: Gayle A. Zeiter Children’s & Young Adult Literature Conference

Come and engage in the joy of children’s and young adult literature in a day filled with amazing, award winning authors at the Gayle A. Zeiter Children’s & Young Adult Literature Conference. We are excited to welcome children’s/YA authors Ellen Hopkins, author of NY Times Best Selling titles including the Crank series; C. Alexander London, author of titles including The Wild Ones series and Proxy; and Judy Schachner, #1 NY Times bestselling author and illustrator of more than 24 titles including Skippyjon Jones and Dewey Bob. Register today!

Leadership in Higher Education Conference: Call for Proposals

Magna Publications and Academic Leader invite proposals for concurrent sessions for the 2017 Leadership in Higher Education Conference, October 19-21, 2017 in Baltimore, Md. This conference provides an opportunity for academic leaders to learn innovative strategies, trends, and best practices for effective management from nationally recognized experts and to network with like-minded peers from a wide range of academic institutions. Keynote and plenary speeches, concurrent interactive workshop sessions, and roundtable conversations foster a climate of learning and collaboration. Submit your proposal by March 31!

Success through Science Notebooks

A tool for enhancing academic language fluency for English Language Learners.


Dr. Margarita Huerta, Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational and Clinical Studies, has recently published studies exploring the relationship between language development and science notebook scores of English language learners (ELLs) and economically disadvantaged students. Collectively, findings show promise for interventions that may foster both language and science competency- and at a faster rate- for these students.

Existing research shows that ELLs take approximately seven years to develop the fluency they need to be successful in the classroom; this lag is clearly evidenced by significantly lower scores in science and literacy domains. In two recent studies, Dr. Huerta explored the use of science notebooks as a tool to help students construct scientific understanding. According to Huerta and colleagues, the use of science notebooks is being increasingly used to serve as a laboratory notebook in which students can record questions, procedures, reflections, and conclusions related to scientific inquiry. The notebooks both offer information to educators about conceptual understandings of science and academic language fluency.

In one quantitative studya, Huerta measured the students’ academic language and conceptual understanding; she and colleagues collected 30 science notebooks from participants to investigate the relationship between students’ language and science concept scores. Findings indicated significant, positive relationships across three scientific domains – implicating that students’ academic language proficiency may parallel their ability to develop and implement science understanding.

In another quantitative studyb, Huerta computed students’ science notebook language and concept scores. Specifically, language growth was compared over time for language status (ELLs, formerly ELLs, and English-speaking) and gender. Findings suggest that students demonstrated statistically significant growth over time in their academic language as reflected by science notebook scores. In addition, Huerta and her colleagues noticed conceptual trends in which scores for ELLs, former ELLs, and male students lagged behind at first, but then caught up to their peers by the end of the school year.

Huerta’s research supports that the use of science notebooks may be a useful took for fostering both students’ academic language and content-area understanding.

Visit Dr. Margarita Huerta’s faculty page to learn more about her work.

aHuerta, M., Irby, B. J., Lara-Alecio, R., & Tong, F. (2015). Relationship between language and concept science notebook scores of English language learners and/or economically disadvantaged students.

bHuerta, M., Tong, F., Irby, B. J., & Lara-Alecio, R. (in press). Measuring and comparing academic language development and conceptual understanding via science notebooks. Journal of Educational Research.