Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Education Specialties

First Advisor

Roger Bloom

Second Advisor

Emily D Sanz


The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to examine the relationship between targeted professional development delivered to select teachers and their students’ literacy achievement. The study involved a nonequivalent control group design in which one group received the treatment. The participants were conveniently selected from two elementary schools in a Title I district in the Northeastern area of the United States. There were 18 teacher participants and 266 students from Grades 3, 4, and 5. There was a balance of gender for students. All students actively engaged in balanced literacy instruction, which is the main teacher-driven instructional program used in this district to instruct students in literacy. The treatment group received something extra, as their teachers participated in targeted professional development for 12 weeks, whereas teachers in the control group were only exposed to balanced literacy instruction. Student participants’ literacy was assessed using the i-Ready Diagnostic in six areas: phonics, phonological awareness, vocabulary, high-frequency words, comprehension of informational text, and comprehension of literary text. The diagnostic was administered twice, once as a pretest and once as a posttest. Teacher participants were administered a pre and post self-assessment of balanced literacy knowledge. Descriptive and inferential statistics were performed. The results indicated targeted professional development delivered to teachers did not affect students’ literacy scores, as both the treatment and control groups of students made significant gains as reflected in their i-Ready scale scores. However, the treatment group did outperform the control group based on their i-Ready scale scores. The methodology and design of this research are worth replicating over a longer duration of time with the same targeted grade levels to determine whether targeted professional development of teachers does affect students’ literacy scores.

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