School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Richard Bragg


Close Reading, Common Core, Literacy, Student Achievement


Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology


The purpose of this ex-post facto, causal-comparative study is to determine the effects of close reading on student achievement. Close reading is a strategy developed through literary criticism and the influences of I. A. Richards and the New Critics. This study analyzes close reading to determine the most efficient practice to help students develop critical reading, thinking, and written communication skills. The researcher examined 2013 to 2015 New York State English Language Arts Exam data from 10 school districts located in the Broome-Tioga BOCES Region. For the study, 6,040 student exams in Grades 3, 4, and 5 were analyzed. Using these data, this study examined whether a close-reading approach to literacy has a greater effect on student achievement in comparison to non-close-reading approaches. Data analysis was conducted using an ANOVA to compare means among schools that adapted, adopted, or did not use the New York State English Language Arts Modules. The statistical data revealed that adopting the New York State Modules does not increase students receiving a proficient or highly score on the New York State ELA Exam. With these results, the researcher concludes that prescribed curriculum does not guarantee higher student achievement over the manner in which a teacher presents close reading and motivates student learning. Recommendations for further research focus on examining exam results from multiple regions from around the state, as well as focusing a qualitative study on how teachers instruct with close reading in the three learning environments.