Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Mary Lou Morton


Students with disabilities (SWD) at an urban high school in Midwestern United States experienced academic, social, and emotional problems. When SWD experience difficulties in high school, they may drop out and face potentially life-long problems. The purpose of this case study was to understand how a Response to Intervention (RTI) tutoring program addressed the academic, social, and emotional needs of students using the RTI model as a conceptual framework. The research questions addressed intervention specialists' perceptions of how use of the RTI model helped them meet SWD needs and what tutoring documents revealed about tutoring practices. Data sources consisted of interviews with 7 purposely selected intervention specialists who worked as special education teachers at the research site for at least 2 years, lesson plans provided by participants, and reviews of 20 student work samples including pre and post assessments. The data were analyzed by coding for emerging ideas related to interventions within the RTI framework and academic and social/emotional issues. The findings revealed that intervention specialists perceived the overarching academic difficulty for SWD was reading deficits, the out-of-class tutoring program was beneficial for SWD academically by using one-on-one and small-group instruction to scaffold success, and RTI was successful socially/emotionally by guiding students to use appropriate classroom behaviors. The results of the documentary data was that the created lessons were academically appropriate for the SWD they taught in the tutoring center. This study can contribute to positive social change by providing guidance to intervention specialists for increasing SWD social and academic success.