Date of Award

Fall 12-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Dean Vazis

Second Advisor

Dr. Deb Ayres

Third Advisor

Dr. John Oldani

Abstract

Reading and critical thinking skills are a source of concern when analyzing student achievement relative to No Child Left Behind (NCLB). In Fort Zumwalt, middle school Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) test scores in communication arts have not consistently met NCLB requirements. To address this concern, Fort Zumwalt implemented Missouri Reading Initiative (MRI) as a pilot at North Middle School during the 2007-08 school year. Collaborative researchers collected data derived from student test scores on the 2006-07 and 2007-08 communication arts MAP to assess MRI effectiveness. Quantitatively, this study examined the relationship between implementation of MRI and student achievement on the communication arts MAP test. Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) data were examined, and student performance on process skills was reviewed. Qualitatively, this study examined the impact of teacher perceptions of MRI on student achievement. To gather teacher perceptions, the MRI End-of-the-Year Questionnaire was given to 18 reading and communication arts teachers who were involved in MRI implementation. Frequency of teacher ratings were tallied and analyzed in the areas of (a) delivery and format, (b) process, (c) student achievement, (d) overall program rating. Using a z-test for proportions, AYP analysis concluded that statistically significant results were rarely achieved. Analysis of process skill performance showed gains in the majority of skills tested, and nearly 50% of skills tested showed statistically significant gains. When reviewing teacher perspectives, the results indicated that 83% of the teachers believed MRI definitely changed or reinforced their teaching. When iii reflecting on the effectiveness of MRI as a whole, 39% of the teachers felt it was “excellent.” No teacher felt that the program was “poor.” The researchers recommend these changes for future practice: (a) teacher involvement early in the MRI implementation; (b) instead of the MAP, the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) should be utilized to more accurately measure student achievement in the area of reading; (c) teacher accountability for effectively implementing MRI strategies during classroom instruction; and (d) identification of the teachers by grade level on the End-of-the-Year Questionnaire in order to make a connection between teacher attitudes and perceptions and impact on student achievement.

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