School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Gary Kuhne


Special Education, Digital Learning, Reading Achievement, Differentiation, Instructional Strategy


Education | Educational Leadership | Leadership Studies


Modern day instructional tools, such as technology and digital learning programs, have been created to assist teachers in differentiating instruction for struggling students and catching students up who are not proficient in reading. The Coronavirus 2020 Global Pandemic forced schools and classrooms across the world to move to remote and virtual forms of learning which potentially exacerbates the achievement gap between all students and students with identified learning disabilities. The purpose of this casual-comparative quantitative research study was to determine the extent to which a digital learning program improves learning outcomes in reading for 4th grade special education students from 32 elementary schools in two West Virginia school districts. For this study a convenience sample of 120 learning-disabled students was used which was comprised of 60 special education students that received one year of i-Ready instruction and 60 students that received no i-Ready instruction and instead used a non-digital teacher-led intervention program for instruction. To determine if there is a significant difference in reading achievement on the West Virginia General Summative Assessment of 4th grade special education students who use i-Ready as a reading intervention tool compared to 4th grade special education students who do not use i-Ready as a reading intervention tool, an independent t test was conducted. The independent sample t test determined that there is a significant difference between the means of special education students who received i-Ready instruction and special education students who did not receive i-Ready instruction program and instead used a teacher led intervention for instruction. The results of this study conclude that the i-Ready program is associated with improved reading scores for students with learning disabilities.