Robin Scarcella

Professor, Academic English
School of Humanities

Ph.D., University of Southern California, Linguistics

M.A., Stanford University, Education

Phone: (949) 824-7305

University of California, Irvine
203 Humanities Instructional Bldg
Mail Code: 3830
Irvine, CA 92697

picture of Robin  Scarcella

second language acquisition, language assessment, academic literacy
URLs UC Professional Development Institute
Access to the Core
Preparing for Success in Algebra
Colorín Colorado: Academic language webcast
Colorín Colorado-Interview: From the Heart Good Instruction
Reading Rockets: Interview on academic language
Reading Rockets Video
A linguist by training, I am best known for my work on academic literacy and second language development. Early in my career,I worked in the areas of age differences in second language development, exploring such questions as whether older learners acquired the morphological and syntactic features of their second language more successfully and more rapidly than younger learners and the extent to which immigrant children’s exposure to English shaped their oral language development.

In my more recent work, Accelerating the Development of Academic English, I concentrate on defining the features, components, and dimensions of academic English, demonstrating the many ways in which informal and academic language are used, and identifying variables related to students’ development of these two registers of English. In these last few years, my research has focused on instructional practices that support the English language development and academic achievement of adolescents and children who come from linguistic minority families. I work in partnership with LAUSD, UCSD and CSUSD to improve the educational outcomes of second language learners. Many of my studies involve mixed methods (including observations and detailed analyses of texts that draw attention to the particular written and conversational features used in specific discipline areas). Most recently my research has focused on factors affecting middle grade children’s development of the language of mathematics. Longstanding educational policy interests focus on curricula, assessment, standards, and teacher professional development.
Publications Effective Literacy and English Language Instruction for English Learners in the Elementary Grades. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, July 2007 (with Russell Gersten, Scott Baker, Timothy Shanahan, Sylvia Linan-Thompson, and Penny Collins).

Accelerating the Development of Academic English(UC,Office of the President)

Academic language: Clarifying terms. AccELLerate! 1 (1)

When learning to read does not lead to advanced English language proficiency. In Developing Advanced Literacy in First and Second Languages: Meaning with power. Mary J. Schleppegrell and M. Cecilia Colombi, 118-30. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Teaching Language Minority Students in the Multicultural Classroom. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
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Last updated 05/25/2010