Date of Conferral







Barry Birnbaum


U.S. students with learning disabilities' math skills acquisition has been on the decline in recent years. Studies show that teachers using traditional methods of teaching math lack knowledge of task analysis, chunking, sequencing, mass practice, modeling, and repetition of instruction. These components of direct instruction or pedagogical activities are hallmarks of special education teaching and are collectively described as cognitive support pedagogy. The study evaluated direct instruction teaching strategies to teach Common Core math to middle school students with learning disabilities, to determine if the current downward trend in math skills acquisition amongst them can be reversed. The theoretical framework of this study was based on Watson's theory of behavioral psychology as it applied to learning and teaching. The participants consisted of a convenience sample of students with learning disabilities. The study used a Solomon 4-group experimental design, in a series of two One-way ANOVAs to measure differences in math score by intervention for pretested and for non-pretested students, with one Factorial 2 X 2 ANOVA which measured for differences by interaction between pre-testing and intervention. Results of ANOVAs were significant at the α-levels of .05 (F (1,78) = 233.66 p < .001), indicating that significant differences existed in math scores of pre-tested students who received intervention and those who did not. The study is significant to teachers, curriculum developers, and instructional leaders because it is the first study of its kind to measure the outcomes of Common Core math using direct instruction and it points a way forward to creating positive social change by increasing students' graduation rates and promoting students' engagement in school and beyond.