All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Loucrecia Collins

Advisory Committee Members

Karen Delano

William Rogan

Margaret Rice

Michelle Sims

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


Statistics from the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) and the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) report a decline in reading achievement for middle school students. This disse1iation examined student test scores on measures of achievement such as the Standardized Achievement Test (SAT) and the Alabama Reading and Math Test (ARMT) for 3 consecutive years in the upper elementary school, just before this critical middle school milestone. The study also examined the percentage of students who scored below their ability levels as measured by the Otis Lennon School Ability Tests (OLSAT). The participants were 53 students who attended a public school in a planned urban community. The school is one of seven in a system that prides itself on a tradition of excellence for its students. This study used a sequential exploratory mixed methods design. In the quantitative phase, paired-samples I-tests were used to find significant differences in total reading, reading comprehension, and reading vocabulary scores. Although scores improved between the fourth and fifth grades, they fell significantly by the end of the sixth grade. Qualitative information was derived from a voluntary, anonymous, strategic reading instruction survey given to teachers. The results of the qualitative analysis showed a concern with their preparedness to teach reading, a desire for more time to plan for reading instruction, and the need for more instructional time for reading. The analysis also showed an appreciation for administrative and collegial support and the efficient use of data at the school level. The results confirmed that while much is being done at the primary level to improve reading instruction, more time and professional resources should be used to support upper adolescent literacy. This information could be used to inform the next steps in the development of an atmosphere of high literacy, one in which the professional learning community supports and encourages the advancement of reading strategies development in all students.

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