School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Rollen Fowler


At-risk, Early Literacy Skills, Intervention, Learning Disability, Response to Intervention (RTI), Tiered Instruction


Education | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this ex post facto quantitative causal-comparative study was to determine whether the use of a teacher-modified literacy curriculum approach was effective in significantly reducing the achievement gap between demographic subgroups, when compared to a curriculum approach of rote teaching. Using gender, race, and lunch status as nominal variables, this study examined differences in pre- to post-test increases in phonemic/phonic skills between groups. Samples were comprised of first-grade students from two school systems in Alabama. School system one consisted of a treatment public elementary school in northwest Alabama (n = 56) that utilized the teacher-modified curriculum approach. School system two was a control group from a public elementary school in south Alabama (n = 107) that utilized a rote-curriculum approach from an adopted publication (Wonders Reading Series). The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills beginning and end of the year Nonsense Word Fluency/Words Read Correctly assessments were used for achievement scores for data collection. The research design utilized a Mann-Whitney U test to compare ranked means of achievement scores between rote versus modified curriculum approaches, as well as to determine potential significant differences in means of the nominal variables gender and race. Three tests showed a statistically significant difference in ranked student achievement in first grade early literacy learning based upon the curriculum approach. Additionally, a fourth use of a Mann Whitney U sign-ranks test on feelings of teacher efficacy showed no statistically significant difference in the use of curriculum approaches in either school.