Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Deanna Boddie

Abstract

The majority of Grade 4 students in the United States do not read at the proficient level. In response to this problem, which has persisted for decades, the United States Congress in 2004 mandated response to intervention as a multitiered classroom support system designed to improve reading skills for students in K-12 public schools. However, little research has been conducted about how classroom teachers use diagnostic assessments, provide small group instruction, and monitor progress in reading interventions. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine how teachers used assessments and instruction in reading interventions for students in Grades 1-3 who were at-risk in reading. The conceptual framework was based on Vygotsky's theory of cognitive development related to the zone of proximal development. A single case study design was used to collect data from multiple sources, including teacher interviews, observations of interventions in reading, and related documents. Participants included 3 teachers in Grades 1-3 from an elementary school located in a western state. Data analysis involved coding and constructing categories for each data source and examining categorized data for themes and discrepancies. Results showed that teachers in Grades 1-3 used various diagnostic assessments and classroom observations to place students at-risk in reading in interventions, and they also used various diagnostic, formative, and summative assessments to inform their instruction. In addition, participants used a scaffolding process that involved contingency, fading, and transfer of responsibility to provide instruction for these students. This research contributes to positive social change by advancing knowledge about how to improve reading intervention instruction so that students at-risk in reading may better contribute to society as literate citizens.