Date of Award

Fall 11-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Second Advisor

Dr. Doug Hayter

Third Advisor

Dr. Patricia Conner


After the passing of the Individuals with Disabilities Act of 2004, many schools began to use a Response to Intervention (RtI) model instead of the discrepancy model when identifying students with specific learning disabilities (National Center on Response to Intervention, 2011). When elementary schools adopted the RtI model, it was shown to be successful with any students who need academic interventions (National Center on Response to Intervention, 2011). The success at the elementary level has led to middle schools adopting the model with varying success (National Center on Response to Intervention, 2011). In this study, middle schools that have developed an academic RtI program through the Professional Learning Community (PLC) process were compared to non-PLC middle schools that may not provide a systemic process of academic interventions to determine if PLC schools produce higher academic achievement. Academic achievement was determined by students’ Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) index scores in communication arts for seventh and eighth graders. As a result of the application of a t-test, there was not a significant difference between the scores of PLC schools and the scores of non-PLC schools. Building principals of the middle schools in the PLC group were surveyed to identify the characteristics of the RtI model that were in place. The survey results of the six top-performing PLC schools were analyzed and compared to the entire PLC group to determine what characteristics lead to improved academic achievement. The components of RtI present in the top-performing schools included interventions that were implemented for at least three years, interventions provided a minimum of three days per week, and a maximum of 70 minutes of intervention per week.


Copyright 2015