Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in School Leadership


Center for Leadership & Learning


College of Education

Committee Chair

Dr. John Freeman

Second Committee Member

Dr. MarTeze Hammonds

Third Committee Member

Dr. Jeremy Owoh

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Mary B. Gunter


The purpose of the study was to determine if the interventions utilized by an external provider was impacting the student achievement for ninth-graders in an urban high school. The Response to Intervention (RTI) model is currently being utilized by the external provider to provide interventions for incoming ninth-graders in the areas of literacy and math, grounded in RTI. The RTI model can be described as an approach to integrate assessment, instruction, and interventions through a multi-tiered system that seeks to help all students, especially struggling learners. The current external provider seeks to help the struggling schools by providing extra assistance in the classrooms with their service members, who are recent college graduates from diverse backgrounds around the country. The urban high school that is the focus of this study is designated as a low socioeconomic Title I school with 80% of the student body considered free and reduced lunch, with a 20% special education population, and a high minority student population (98%). It has been designated by the state department of education as having priority status, due to a three-year trend of low end-of-year benchmark exams. Using archived testing data and stakeholder interviews, the researcher sought to answer two research questions; is there evidence of academic growth by the students needing assistance; and what are the perceptions of the stakeholders regarding the effectiveness of the program? The testing data were collected from 144 ninth-grade students in math and literacy. Using paired t-test analysis, the year-to-year results were compared to determine if there was academic improvement. The qualitative interview data from the stakeholders was analyzed using the constant-comparative method to determine if themes arose that addressed the research questions. The results indicated that there was improvement in math and literacy by the third-year of the program, indicating a cumulative effect of the program meeting the needs of the students. The qualitative interview data indicated that the stakeholders involved with the program from both sides, felt that the program was effective and was making a difference in the educational outcomes of these at risk students.