Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Georgene Risko


Students are reaching middle school 2 or more years behind in reading ability. As a result, they are unable to meet state testing standards. In 2007, the READ 180 program was implemented at an urban middle school in Virginia to address the reading gaps of these middle school students. The purpose of this sequential mixed-method program evaluation was to analyze the reading success of 30 READ 180 students and the perceptions of 4 teachers who taught the READ 180 curriculum. The theoretical framework that served as a basis for this study was Vygotsky's zone of proximal development, which holds that independent thinking is facilitated by developmentally-appropriate instruction. Research questions examined the strengths and weaknesses of the program and its effectiveness on helping the students improve their reading ability. Student scores from the program assessments were examined using a paired samples t test and by comparing central tendencies. An analysis showed a 15% increase in students' SRI pre- and posttest scores, noting that 6.67% of students passed the reading SOL. Themes from the teacher interviews indicated that the teachers perceived the training to be sufficient and that the materials and technology were authentic; however, updated curricula materials were needed. The quantitative and qualitative research data were used to generate an evaluation report to share explicit research findings with the school division and parents about the programs' successes and needs for improvement. Social change was supported by evaluating a reading intervention program designed to increase middle school students' reading ability.

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