Date of Award

7-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Bruce Boyles

Abstract

The acquisition of reading skills is a key component to a student’s academic progress and success in life. Effectively implemented early intervention programs have been shown to improve reading performance of struggling readers. The purpose of this study was to conduct a CIPP program evaluation of the implementation of a Response to Intervention (RTI) Program in a rural school district. The focus of this study was an RTI program in its second year of full implementation in kindergarten and first grade in 15 elementary schools. This mixed-method study utilized data gathered from reading achievement and special education referral data, district-level and school-level administrator interviews, a teacher survey, and focus groups.

Findings from this study indicated there was no significant difference in reading achievement and special education referral data in the 2 years of program implementation. Administrators and teachers demonstrated knowledge of the purpose and key elements of an RTI program, but fidelity of program implementation was an area identified for improvement. Recommendations included clearly defining and communicating program expectations to improve fidelity of implementation. In addition, careful review, selection, and alignment of screening tools, intervention resources, and progress monitoring measures were recommended to improve consistency of implementation from school to school.

The RTI program evaluated in this study was in its second year of implementation. Results of this program evaluation provided formative assessment data of the program’s strengths and weaknesses. The results of this study could be useful to district- and school-level administrators and teachers as they continue to work to implement an effective RTI program designed to meet the needs of struggling kindergarten and first-grade readers.

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