Date of Award

5-1-2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Smith, Lynn

Abstract

AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OF PATRICIA J. ROSENBERGER, for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in EDUCATION presented on FEBRUARY 2, 2012, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. TITLE: NO SCHOOL LEFT BEHIND: A MULTIPLE CASE STUDY OF HIGH-PERFORMING THIRD-GRADE READING PROGRAMS IN LOW-INCOME, RURAL SCHOOLS IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS MAJOR PROFESSOR: Dr. Lynn C. Smith Since the 2008 implementation of Response to Intervention (RtI) plans in Illinois, rural schools in southern Illinois with a high percentage of low-income students have been compelled to implement school-wide reforms of their reading programs. Often, limited funding makes it difficult to sustain growth trends in Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Nonetheless, Adequate Yearly Progress has become the accountability tool by which the public and politicians perceive the success or failure of the public school system. Bauch (2001) articulated the importance of giving consideration to the uniqueness of rural schools, such as those included in this study. Taylor, Pearson, Clark, and Walpole (2000) stressed the need for relevant research that meets the needs of poor children to increase academic achievement and educational opportunity. Currently, there is limited research that describes high-performing reading programs in low-income, rural southern Illinois schools that would guide comprehensive reform of reading programs in these schools. Both of the schools in the study were representative of rural schools with a high percentage of low-income students in southern Illinois and had achieved three years' growth of third-grade Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) reading scores. Third-grade programs were the focus of the study because the students did not have previous ISAT experience. Using case study design, within-case studies of two rural, high-performing third-grade reading programs focusing on the areas of resource allocation, decision-making models, curriculum and instructional methods, and teacher beliefs and attitudes were undertaken to provide descriptions of the third-grade reading programs at each of the participant schools. Data was collected during a one-week onsite visit to each school and included pre-observation surveys, interviews with administrators, faculty and staff, and field notes collected from classroom observations. Through a comparison of common themes from each school, eight overarching themes became the basis for cross-case analysis. These overarching themes can serve as a foundation for further research, guiding comprehensive reform of reading programs in poor, rural schools.

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