Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Debra Tyrrell


Though researchers have demonstrated that adaptive practice software is an effective tool to use with primary grade students, they have not fully established the impact blended eLearning tools have on upper elementary students in a suburban school setting. The problem facing one southeastern state district was that their schools had selected different approaches to address declining reading scores, but the district had no systematic analysis of the chosen blended eLearning tools to determine an improvement in reading growth scores among all students. The purpose of this comparative quantitative project study was to determine the influence different blended eLearning tools, Reading Plus and IXL, had on Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) TNReady English Language Arts scores of Title I fourth grade students. Siemens's connectivism provided the theoretical framework for this study. Archival data from a southeastern school district were used to examine the influence Reading Plus, IXL, and a control group had on fourth grade TCAP TNReady reading scores. The convenience and purposeful sampling included 143 fourth grade students from three Title I schools. Analysis of a one-way ANCOVA indicated that Reading Plus had greater influence on reading scores of fourth grade students. A policy recommendation paper was created as a tool to guide stakeholders in making informed decisions about selecting adaptive software tools based on evidence-based practices. The results may add to the knowledge in the field of educational technology and may be used by elementary administrators, instructional coaches, and upper elementary teachers when selecting blended learning programs to support their literacy curriculum.