Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




James LaSpina


Students at an eastern United States high school have experienced low pass rates on the High School Assessment Program for English Language Arts (HSAP ELA) for the past 5 consecutive years. The HSAP ELA test is 1 of 2 exams that students must pass to receive a high school diploma. Students who failed the HSAP ELA were provided remedial content and test preparation courses and enrichment tutorials to pass the state's ELA high-stakes test. The purpose of this qualitative bounded case study was to explore the teaching practices used to improve student performance on the HSAP ELA test. The conceptual framework for this study was the ELA competency model, a framework that combines instructional-practice principles and assessment. A purposeful sampling of 8 high school ELA teachers (3 regular education teachers, 4 remedial teachers, and 1 teacher who taught both groups) who taught ELA content and test preparation courses volunteered to participate in semi-structured interviews and provided sample lesson plans for document review. Qualitative data were analyzed using thematic analysis with open coding to identify patterns and themes. Teachers used graphic organizers, vocabulary study, questioning, relevant texts, and writing to prepare students for success on the HSAP ELA test. It is recommended that the current ELA curriculum and professional learning opportunities include teaching practices which could increase student content knowledge and performance on the HSAP ELA. These endeavors may contribute to positive social change by providing ELA teachers with specific teaching practices to prepare students to pass the HSAP ELA test, thus increasing the number of students receiving high school diplomas and increasing employment opportunities after high school.

Included in

Education Commons