School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Beth Ackerman

Primary Subject Area

Education, Administration; Education, Reading; Education, Special


reading achievement, students with disabiliites, NCLB, student placement in reading classes, alternate teacher certification programs, student self-efficacy


With the advent of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, many changes are occurring in the field of special education. More than ever before, students with disabilities are being included in each state’s NCLB required assessment to determine adequate yearly progress. This has resulted in an influx of students with disabilities enrolled in intensive reading classes in the schools. Educators, administrators, and reading coaches are attempting to figure out the best way to educate these students to achieve the reading gains that NCLB requires. The purpose of this study was to examine factors believed to affect reading achievement of students with disabilities in intensive reading classes. The factors under study were the reading achievement of students with mild disabilities in classes taught by teachers who were highly qualified in reading (as defined by NCLB legislation), not highly qualified in reading, and teachers highly qualified in both reading and special education (distinguishing between traditional and alternate special education certification). In addition, student demographics and teacher demographics were analyzed as covariates to determine their effects on student achievement. Results indicated that there was no statistically significant difference between the reading achievement of students taught by highly qualified reading teachers (HQ), non-highly qualified reading teachers (NHQ), highly qualified reading teachers with additional special education certification (HQP), and highly qualified reading teachers with additional special education certification obtained through an alternate certification program (HQAP). Several teacher demographic variables were highly correlated with a teacher’s sense of feeling prepared and competent to teach reading. Additionally, after controlling for their 8th grade FCAT scores, as the number of students with disabilities per HQ, HQAP, or HQP teacher increased, student reading achievement decreased.