Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Jamie D. Jones


This qualitative case study addressed the persistent achievement gaps in annual measurable objectives (AMO) data at a public rural elementary school in the Mideast United States. Response to intervention (RTI) data teams from 2010 did not produce expected student gains after 5 years of implementation in the school under study. Based on Mandinach and Jackson's data-driven decision making conceptual framework, the purpose of this study was to examine the work of the RTI data teams as they attempted to improve student learning and close achievement gaps. A purposeful sample of 13 staff members involved in the RTI implementation process was interviewed. In addition, the RTI data team and student documentation were content analyzed for process and outcomes. Open coping and thematic data analysis of the interview transcripts revealed themes of fidelity, consistency, professional development, and data use in isolation. Findings suggested that the RTI teams lack sufficient time, professional development, and the capacity to address student learning gaps adequately. As an outcome, a guiding model for designing, implementing, and evaluating ongoing blended professional development was proposed. The intent of the project is to eliminate implementation barriers and establish effective data-driven decision making practices that improve instructional practice and student learning. This study has could assist educators in their efforts to implement RTI and build organizational capacity for data-driven decision making to address persistent achievement gaps effectively.