Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Derek R. Schroll


Students with disabilities (SWDs) at a combined junior/senior high school in a Midwestern state have opportunities to participate in inclusive education settings. However, they consistently score below proficient on state standardized reading assessments, despite an increased focus on literacy by content area inclusion teachers. Without improved literacy skills, many SWDs will experience a decrease in standardized test scores and graduation rates, which, in turn, will affect access to a college education and better careers and livelihoods. The purpose of this bounded qualitative case study was to explore 7th and 8th grade content area inclusion teachers' attitudes toward and perceptions of literacy, and how they used literacy interventions and strategies in their lessons. Vygotsky's social development and constructivist learning theories, as well as Rumelhart's schema theory were used for the conceptual framework. Eight 7th and 8th grade inclusion teachers who taught science, mathematics, and social studies volunteered and participated in semistructured interviews and provided lesson plans for analysis. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis and axial coding. Themes, based on the conceptual frameworks, revealed that teachers need to coordinate lesson plans and instruction, offer differentiated instruction, and understand research-based interventions and strategies that are subject specific. It is recommended that inclusion teachers use the same research-based literacy strategies correctly for SWDs to understand content. These endeavors may contribute to positive social change by encouraging administrators to offer content specific literacy-based professional development for inclusion teachers to improve SWDs' academic performance and future educational and employment opportunities.