Date of Award

Spring 3-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Lynda Leavitt

Second Advisor

Dr. John Long

Third Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Patterson

Abstract

The development of quality educational programs, designed to meet the needs of all students, is a pivotal responsibility of educators and yet a considerable challenge due to the diverse needs in each school. Many consider the Response to Intervention (RtI) model to be one initiative with the greatest potential to improve education for all students (Tilly, 2006). RtI is a process that screens students for concerns, uses scientifically based strategies to teach, intervenes to address identified learning needs, assesses and charts progress, and ultimately adjusts the educational support to meet the varied needs of all learners (Dickman, 2006). A vast majority of RtI research has focused on elementary models; however, there is a need for research regarding RtI at the secondary level. It is likely that students benefiting from RtI at the elementary level may require similar supports in middle and high school. This mixed method study was designed to consider the appropriateness of implementing progress monitoring, a component of an RtI model, in a middle school setting. The study measured the reading growth of sixth grade students following the implementation of a systematic progress monitoring program and examined teachers’ perceptions regarding the impact of this program on student achievement, instructional decision-making, and the classroom learning environment. Sixth grade student reading scores were compared prior to and following the implementation of the progress monitoring program. Additionally, data from classroom observations, teacher responses to reflection questions, and teacher interview responses were analyzed to measure the perception of teachers regarding the effectiveness of implementing class-wide progress monitoring. The results indicated that student achievement was positively impacted by the systematic progress monitoring program without interruption to the learning process. The qualitative data from teachers provided insight and recommendations to further aid in the development of an appropriate middle school RtI model. The quantitative data provided evidence to support the benefit of allocating additional time and energy to the development of a model that supports continued screening, monitoring, and intervening to support the learning needs of students across the educational continuum.

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