Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Deborah Focarile

Abstract

Students who struggle with reading in their elementary years are likely to make poor academic progress, leave school before graduation, and struggle in the workplace. The district leaders at 24 K-5 elementary schools in a large Midwestern district were interested in a formative reading program evaluation to determine reading program effectiveness. This mixed methods study, approached from a cognitive and social theoretical framework, was a formative evaluation of the Balanced Literacy Reading Program implementation at these elementary schools. The purpose of this study was to capture the K-5 classroom teachers' (n = 113), instructional coaches' (n = 18), and principals' (n = 32) perceptions of the program in regard to the resources, staff development, leadership support, and impact on students and teachers. A parallel survey with both Likert and short-answer items was designed for each participant group based on these 4 categories. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and qualitative data were analyzed with open coding and thematic analysis. The primary finding was that participants in all 3 groups cited a need for professional development in the area of increasing student reading proficiency to grade level and beyond. As a result of the findings, a professional learning community was designed with a focus on in-depth collaboration to increase teacher knowledge and student achievement. District leaders were presented with the results of this study and recommendations for program improvement. These recommended improvements can impact social change by increasing student achievement, graduation rates, and workplace success.