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Virginia P. Collier

PhD, University of Southern California
Professor Emeritus

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E-MAIL: vcollier@gmu.edu

Dr. Virginia P. Collier is Professor Emerita of Bilingual/Multicultural/ESL Education at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, located in the metropolitan area of Washington, D.C. She is best known for her work with senior researcher, Dr. Wayne Thomas, on school effectiveness for linguistically and culturally diverse students, working with many school districts in all regions of the U.S. over the past 28 years. Spotlighted by the national and international media, their award-winning national research studies have had a substantial impact on school policies throughout the world. Since 1988, Drs. Thomas and Collier have been regularly interviewed by the popular media, with 180 published newspaper articles and interviews on television and radio in the U.S. and abroad, reporting on their research findings. A popular speaker, Dr. Collier has given 221 keynote speeches and 437 invited and refereed presentations to international, national, state, and local conferences over the past 33 years. She and Dr. Thomas have also conducted educational leadership training for superintendents, principals, and education policy makers in 31 U.S. states and 15 countries. Drs. Collier and Thomas are authors of two new books that summarize all their research of the past 28 years: Educating English Learners for a Transformed World (2009; Spanish electronic edition 2013) and Dual Language Education for a Transformed World (2012), published by Dual Language Education of New Mexico-Fuente Press (www.dlenm.org). These books present a readable synthesis of research in our field, written for all educators and policy makers, including an overview of the Thomas & Collier research findings with our research figures for staff developers to use. In addition, Dr. Collier has over 66 other publications in the field of language education. In 1989, she received the Distinguished Faculty Award from George Mason University for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service. Proficient in Spanish and English, having lived in Central America during her childhood, she has served the field of bilingual/ESL education for 43 years as parent, teacher, researcher, teacher educator, and doctoral mentor. As a retired emeritus professor, she is currently working with Dr. Wayne Thomas on continuing longitudinal research with school districts and writing books. In their collaborative work, Drs. Thomas and Collier have contributed new theoretical perspectives for the field of bilingual/multicultural education. They are well known for developing the Prism Model, a theory and guide to empirical research. This model makes predictions about program effectiveness, from a theoretical perspective. Drs. Thomas and Collier have tested the Prism Model by collecting and analyzing program effectiveness data, and they have refined the model based on empirical findings. They have also developed unique theoretical perspectives on analyses of longitudinal student data, to demonstrate the importance of following English learners' achievement over long periods of time, with school policy implications. By following individual student progress over 5-6 years at minimum (instead of the typical 1-2 years), they have shown that the typical short-term finding of "no significant difference across programs" has misled the field and policy makers; whereas long-term findings yield extremely significant differences among school programs. They have found with consistency in each of their research studies that only high quality bilingual schooling has the potential to close the academic achievement gap. By introducing degree of gap closure as the primary measure of program success, rather than pre-post score differences among groups, they have shown that English-only and transitional bilingual programs of short duration only close about half of the achievement gap, while high quality long-term bilingual programs close all of the gap after 5-6 years of schooling through two languages.  To download Thomas & Collier publications on the Internet, go to the website www.thomasandcollier.com and click on "Publications."

Recent Publications

Books, Major Research Monographs, Book Chapters, and Journal Articles: See www.thomasandcollier.com for downloads of many of these publications.

  • Collier, V.P., & Thomas, W.P. (2013). La educacion de los estudiantes de ingles para un mundo en constante transformacion. Albuquerque, NM: Dual Language Education of New Mexico-Fuente Press. Electronic edition. www.dlenm.org
  • Thomas, W.P., & Collier, V.P. (2012). Dual language education for a transformed world. Albuquerque, NM: Dual Language Education of New Mexico-Fuente Press. www.dlenm.org and Amazon
  • Collier, V.P., & Thomas, W.P. (2009). Educating English learners for a transformed world. Albuquerque, NM: Dual Language Education of NM-Fuente Press. www.dlenm.org and Amazon
  • Ovando, C.J., Combs, M.C., & Collier, V.P. (2006). Bilingual and ESL classrooms: Teaching in multicultural contexts (4th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Collier, V.P. (1995). Promoting academic success for ESL students: Understanding second language acquisition for school. Woodside, NY: New Jersey Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages-Bilingual Educators. To order: Bastos Educational Publications. 
  • Thomas, W.P., Collier, V.P., & Collier, K. (2011). English learners in North Carolina, 2010. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
  • Thomas, W.P., & Collier, V.P. (2010). English learners in North Carolina, 2009. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
  • The Thomas and Collier 2002 national study, funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education: Thomas, W.P., & Collier, V.P. (2002). A national study of school effectiveness for language minority students' long-term academic achievement. Santa Cruz, CA: Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence, University of California-Santa Cruz (333 pp.).
  • The Thomas and Collier 1997 national study: Thomas, W.P. & Collier, V.P. (1997). School effectiveness for language minority students. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition Resource Collection Series, No. 9, December, 1997 (96 pp.).
  • Collier, V.P. (1980). A sociological case study of bilingual education and its effects on the schools and the community. Dissertation Abstracts International, 41, 2481A. (Doctoral dissertation, available from the University of Southern California, 304 pp.)
  • Collier, V.P., & Thomas, W.P. (2012). What really works for English language learners: Research-based practices for principals. In G. Theoharis & J. Brooks (Eds.), What every principal needs to know to create equitable and excellent schools (pp. 155-173). New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Collier, V.P., & Thomas, W.P. (2007). Predicting second language academic success in English using the Prism Model. In J. Cummins & C. Davison (Eds.), International handbook of English language teaching, Part 1 (pp. 333-348). New York: Springer.
  • Thomas, W.P., & Collier, V.P. (2000). Accelerated schooling for all students: Research findings on education in multilingual communities. In S. Shaw (Ed.), Intercultural education in European classrooms (pp. 15-35), Stoke on Trent, United Kingdom: Trentham Books.
  • Collier, V.P., & Thomas, W.P. (1999). Developmental bilingual education. In F. Genesee (Ed.), Program alternatives for linguistically and culturally diverse students (pp. 19-24). Santa Cruz, CA: Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence, University of California-Santa Cruz.
  • Collier, V.P. (1996). The education of language minority students: United States policies, practices, and assessment of academic achievement. In SCAA Invitational Conference on Teaching and Learning English as as Additional Language (pp. 16-50). London: School Curriculum adn Assessment Authority of the United Kingdom.
  • Collier, V.P. (1995). Second language acquisition for school: Academic, cognitive, sociocultural and linguistic processes. In J.E. Alatis et al. (Eds.), Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics 1995 (pp. 311-327). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
  • Collier, V.P. (1986). Cross-cultural policy issues in minority and majority parent involvement. In Issues of parent involvement and literacy (pp. 73-78). Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition.
  • Collier, V.P. (1985). University models for ESL and bilingual teacher training. In Issues in English language development (pp. 81-90). Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for English Language Acqusition.
  • Thomas, W.P., & Collier, V.P. (2011). Drs. Thomas and Collier share the educational implications of their research on dual language programs. ESL Globe 8(1), 1-2. Raleigh, NC: NC State University.
  • Collier, V.P., & Thomas, W.P. (2010). Helping your English learners in spite of No Child Left Behind. Teachers College Record, March 17, 2010. ID#15937.
  • Collier, V.P., Thomas, W.P., & Tinajero, J.V. (2006). From remediation to enrichment: Transforming Texas schools through dual language education. TABE Journal, 9(1), 23-34.
  • Collier, V.P., & Thomas, W.P. (2005). The beauty of dual language education. TABE Journal, 8(1), 1-6.
  • Collier, V.P., & Thomas, W.P. (2004). The astounding effectiveness of dual language education for all. NABE Journal of Research and Practice, 2(1), 1-20.
  • Thomas, W.P., & Collier, V.P. (2003). The multiple benefits of dual language. Educational Leadership, 61(2), 61-64.
  • Thomas, W.P., & Collier, V.P. (2003). Reforming education policies for English learners: Research evidence from U.S. schools. The Multilingual Educator, 4(1), 16-10, Covina, CA: California Association for Bilingual Education.
  • Collier, V.P. & Thomas, W.P. (2002). Reforming education policies for English learners means better schools for all. The State Education Standard, 3(1), 30-36. (The quarterly journal of the National Association of State Boards of Education, Alexandria, VA).
  • Collier, V.P., & Thomas, W.P. (2001a). Educating linguistically and culturally diverse students in correctional settings. The Journal of Correctional Education, 52 (2), 68-73.
  • Thomas, W.P., & Collier, V.P. (1999a). Accelerated schooling for English language learners. Educational Leadership, 56(7), 46-49.
  • Collier, V.P., & Thomas, W.P. (1999b, August/September). Making U.S. schools effective for English language learners, Part 1. TESOL Matters, 9(4), 1, 6.
  • Collier, V.P., & Thomas, W.P. (1999c, October/November). Making U.S. schools effective for English language learners, Part 2. TESOL Matters, 9(5), 1, 6.
  • Collier, V.P., & Thomas, W.P. (1999d, December/January). Making U.S. schools effective for English language learners, Part 3. TESOL Matters, 9(6), 1, 10.
  • Thomas, W.P., & Collier, V.P. (1997b). Two languages are better than one. Educational Leadership, 55(4), 23-26.
  • Collier, V.P. (1995). Acquiring a second language for school. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education. 
  • Thomas, W.P., Collier, V.P., & Abbott, M. (1993). Academic achievement through Japanese, Spanish, or French: The first two years of partial immersion. Modern Language Journal, 77, 170-179.
  • Collier, V.P. (1992). A synthesis of studies examining long-term language minority student data on academic achievement. Bilingual Research Journal, 16(1-2), 187-212. 
  • Collier, V.P. (1992). The Canadian bilingual immersion debate: A synthesis of research findings. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 14(1), 87-97.
  • Collier, V.P. (1989). How long? A synthesis of research on academic achievement in second language. TESOL Quarterly, 23, 509-531.
  • Collier, V.P. & Thomas, W.P. (1989). How quickly can immigrants become proficient in school English? Journal of Educational Issues of Language Minority Students, 5, 26-38.
  • Collier, V.P. (1988). The effect of age on acquisition of a second language for school. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition.
  • Collier, V.P. (1987). Age and rate of acquisition of second language for academic purposes. TESOL Quarterly, 21, 617-641.

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