Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Peter P. Kiriakidis


School administrators at the research site, which is a public school district, had been under pressure to improve low reading state scores of Grade 11 students as measured by Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests. A web-based reading software called Study Island was integrated into the literacy curriculum for students to increase their reading proficiency and pass PSSA state tests. The research problem was that the integration of Study Island had not been evaluated and students were not meeting adequate yearly progress (AYP). The purpose of this study was to provide research-based evidence on whether Study Island helped students to improve their reading proficiency. This nonequivalent, quasi-experimental study was based on Tomlinson's differentiated instruction theory and Marzano's intelligence theory. Archived PSSA scores were collected for 2 cohorts of Grade 11 students (N = 800), before and after the curricular integration of Study Island between the academic years 2009--2011 and 2011--2013. An independent samples t test showed that students' reading proficiency scores were significantly higher after receiving the Stony Island software than they were before the software. These findings can be used by school and district administrators regarding the integration of Study Island into other academic subjects. Implications for positive social change may include professional development (PD) for high school teachers to use Study Island in the academic subjects they teach. PD on Study Island for high school teachers may help students pass PSSA testing, meet AYP, and graduate from high school.