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CELA History

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The Center on English Learning & Achievement (CELA) began in 1987 with a small award from the U.S. Department of Education to study the teaching and learning of literature. Over the next eight years, led by Drs. Judith A. Langer and Arthur N. Applebee (University at Albany) and Dr, Marty Nystrand (University of Wisconsin), the Center’s work provided teachers, administrators, and policymakers with the first solid base of research on what literature was being taught and how, and to which students, as well as suggestions for alternatives. These contributions had a rapid and significant effect on the nation’s literature curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

In 1995, when the need for research into other aspects of language learning became apparent, the Department awarded the Center a new grant that broadened its scope to include all aspects of English and language arts teaching and learning. Thus CELA researchers examined how the various parts of the curriculum in English and other subjects can best work together to improve students’ reading, writing, and general language skills. This work included a set of experimental studies undertaken in partnership with schools to implement previous findings and assess the impact on student achievement. Results show positive impact on instruction and on students’ reading and writing ability, particularly among student groups that generally under-perform.

Since 2002, the Center has focused on working with teachers of all levels and subject areas and on providing useful resources to implement previous findings. In addition, it has undertaken a national study of writing instruction that seeks to understand how writing is incorporated into each of the major academic subject areas, the cumulative experiences of individual students learning to write, and the contextual factors that support or inhibit effective opportunities for students to learn to write well in their secondary school coursework.


Copyright © 2011 CELA.  All rights reserved.

Last updated on June 08, 2011 by the Webmaster.
Please send questions or comments to:

Center on English Learning and Achievement,  School of Education B9
University at Albany,  1400 Washington Ave.,  Albany,  NY 12222

Phone: (518) 442-5026  Fax: (518) 442-5933

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