Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Robert McClure

Abstract

An achievement gap persists in many educational settings with females outperforming males in reading. In a Southern California school district, reading scores for boys average 10 percentile points below those of girls. A qualitative case study was conducted to explore which instructional approaches can help close this gender gap. The conceptual framework for this study was based on engagement theory, which proposes that students who are engaged in learning tasks achieve at higher levels. The guiding question asked how reading achievement for boys in Grades 3-6 could be improved in the district under study. Semistructured individual interviews were conducted with 4 teachers from different schools and grade levels whoâ??s boys, according to district officials, had demonstrated a strong increase in reading achievement. Content analysis of interview transcripts used a 2-cycle coding method to find emerging themes. Participants indicated 5 instructional approaches that contributed to an increase in reading achievement for boys: differentiated reading instruction, collaborative learning, motivation, goal setting and monitoring, and positive teacher-student relationships. Understanding how teachers can improve reading achievement for boys may contribute knowledge about how to improve achievement for all students in other grades in this district, help close achievement gaps, and improve the chance of getting into college for all students.