Date of Award

Fall 10-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Second Advisor

Dr. Lisa Christiansen

Third Advisor

Dr. Dennis Cooper


Reading and writing proficiency are skills necessary to be successful academically and in today’s workplace. Literacy skills are directly linked to a better quality of life, the ability to read labels, civic documents, to expand knowledge, and to boost self-esteem (SIL International, 2012). Teaching reading and writing is a complicated arena in education and must be addressed in a systematic manner in order for students to excel. In this study, state test scores in Communication Arts for students in grades 3 through 8 in Missouri were examined to determine the top 10% of schools. Once the top 10% of schools were identified for 2010 and 2011 a list of schools was generated that included only schools in the top 10% both years. The school administrators were then surveyed to determine instructional practices, professional development practices, and practices for additional time and support for students struggling in Communication Arts. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics to determine best practices, professional development, and how additional time and support for struggling students are developed. This study revealed that it is imperative to differentiate instruction to meet individual students’ academic levels, and teachers provide instruction for students’ individual needs based on assessment data collected throughout the year. Also, instruction is based on a sophisticated knowledge of research-based practices in literacy and literacy development. It is important to tailor instruction for students using multiple sources and multiple levels of curriculum during flexible reading groups, according to the study. Student learning is dependent on high-quality teaching. This study revealed that professional development is conducted within the school district to maximize student achievement outcomes.


Copyright 2013