Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Researchers in schools have had differing interpretations of effective implementation of response to intervention (RTI) models that have resulted in educators' confusion and misperceptions of the programs, especially with elementary English language learner (ELL) students. The purpose of this case study of 4 schools in an urban school district in the midwest was to explore how teachers used experiential, linguistic, and culturally responsive research-based instructional strategies in their classes to meet the needs of ELLs. Additionally, the RTI team process was explored to discover what experiential, linguistic, and culturally responsive research-based indicators they considered during the RTI decision making process regarding ELLs referred for Tier 2 intervention in reading. Two conceptual frameworks, Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol and World-Class Design and Assessment RTI2 protocol, operationalized the topic and guided the study. Results were derived from individual semistructured interviews with district instructional coaches and review of referral and recommendation documentation. Data were coded and a thematic analysis was conducted. Findings included the themes of misalignment of Tier 1 core instruction and Tier 2 intervention, inadequate teacher preparation, and limited differentiated support services. A professional learning project for teachers in the district was created based on the findings of this case study. The social change implications for results of the study and the project may be increased capacity building for teachers in inclusive classrooms and a precise and consistent understanding of the RTI model by all stakeholders. The study makes an original contribution to research on RTI implementation with ELLs at the local level and the results can be of value to other districts serving similar populations.