Do Teachers Perceive That Their Main Instructional Materials Meet the Needs of English Learners (ELs) and Students with Disabilities (SWD)?

Implications for equitable access to instructional materials

Young teacher teaching english kids in kindergarten classroom, photo by mangpor2004/AdobeStock

Photo by mangpor2004/AdobeStock


Tuesday, June 8, 2021


3 p.m. to 4 p.m. EDT / 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. PDT


This event has passed and registration has closed


In this presentation, RAND researchers will use data from the spring 2020 American Instructional Resources Survey (AIRS) to examine what K–12 public school teachers think about whether their main materials for English language arts (ELA), mathematics, and science meet the needs of English learners (ELs) and students with disabilities (SWD). They will also present new data on how U.S. teachers use their materials to meet the needs of these populations. Their findings illustrate that:

  • Even teachers with small numbers of ELs and SWD in their classrooms are thinking about how to meet the needs of those populations and are concerned that they may lack materials to meet those needs.
  • Teachers heavily modify their materials when they think that those materials don’t meet the needs of SWD or ELs.

The researchers will discuss their findings and the implications for understanding equitable access to instructional materials for ELs, SWD, and students of color.

Laura Stelitano

Laura Stelitano is an associate policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Her research primarily focuses on K-12 education and policy implementation and on workforce development. Her education interests include special education and inclusion, teacher use of curricula, teacher and school leader professional development, and teacher and school responses to COVID-19.

In the area of workforce development, Laura is interested in studying the improvement and alignment of workforce development systems and working with transdisciplinary teams to employ continuous improvement processes. She specializes in qualitative and mixed methods. Laura was a RAND Summer Associate in 2016 and completed her Ph.D. in learning sciences and policy at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to that she worked as a research associate at the American Institutes for Research and as a middle school special education teacher in Washington D.C. She earned her M.Ed. in special education at George Mason University and her B.A. in anthropology at Saint Vincent College.

Andrea Prado Tuma

Andrea Prado Tuma

Andrea Prado Tuma is an associate social scientist at the RAND Corporation. Her research seeks to understand how schools and school districts implement programs and/or policies to address educational inequality. She has particular expertise in school leadership, research-practice partnerships, and school-community engagement and specializes in qualitative and social network methodology.

Prado Tuma is currently working on projects focused on networked improvement communities (NICs), out-of-school time settings, social and emotional learning, and curriculum and instruction. Prior to graduate school, she worked at the Mexican Institute of Family and Population Research, where she contributed to the design of a curriculum to increase the academic achievement and middle school enrollment of girls in rural Mexico. Prado Tuma received an M.A. and Ph.D. in human development and social policy from Northwestern University.

Ashley Woo

Ashley Woo

Ashley Woo is an assistant policy researcher at RAND and a Ph.D. student at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her research interests include wealth and income inequality, educational equity, neighborhood and school segregation, teacher recruitment and retention, education curriculum, and standards-based school reform.

Prior to joining Pardee RAND, she worked for KIPP LA Schools, where she taught 2nd grade at a South Los Angeles charter school. In addition, she is a Teach for America alumna, having completed two years of teaching at a Title I elementary school in Miami, Florida. As a former educator, she is experienced in standards-based and data-driven instruction, curriculum design, and tailoring teaching methods to support specific academic and social-emotional student needs.

She has a B.A. in political economy and a minor in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley, where she also conducted research on how American educational outcomes compare to those of other wealthy, industrialized nations in terms of both equity and levels of student achievement.

Julia H. Kaufman

Julia H. Kaufman

Julia Kaufman is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation where she codirects the American Educator Panels. Her research focuses on how states and school systems can support high-quality instruction and student learning, as well as methods for measuring educator perceptions and instruction. She has led studies on how to support students' civics knowledge, skills, and dispositions; how state policies can encourage effective use of high-quality materials; implementation and student outcomes associated with the strategies of the Louisiana Department of Education; perceptions and implementation of state standards for kindergarten through twelfth-grade students; and implementation, outcomes, and costs associated with pipelines for preparing, hiring, and supporting high-quality school leaders and teachers.

Kaufman has also led several projects to develop innovative measures of instructional practice, including measures of student-centered learning and teachers' mathematics instruction. Prior to coming to RAND, Kaufman's research focused on the main factors that support teachers' use of inquiry-based mathematics curricula and the extent to which survey measures can accurately capture teachers' instruction. She holds a Ph.D. in international education from New York University and an M.A. in teaching from the University of Pittsburgh.