Date of Award


Degree Type



Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Grove, Mary

Subject Headings

Reading (Secondary) -- United States, High school teaching -- United States, literacy, high school, education policy, teacher perceptions


In recent years there has been an intense focus on literacy acquisition at the elementary school level. There is indisputable evidence correlating early reading achievement and future academic success. This evidence has resulted in Federal and local dollars being poured into school districts annually to insure the development of these essential skills. Frequently these dollars address instructional strategies, innovative programs professional development for teachers to improve pedagogy and their impact is measured by teachers using a variety of assessment. Due to this practice, we fail to measure, track, and provide intervention for those who are reading below grade level once they have moved into the upper grades.Little datum is available regarding the literacy rates or of programs that support and improve the skills of at-risk readers at the secondary level. In 2000, the National Reading Panel identified a negative trend in national reading scores over a five year period. Once behind, these at-risk students seldom catch up remaining significantly behind throughout their educational careers as they are unable to read instructional text. This study investigated the mean and median reading comprehension scores of graduating seniors from a large urban Midwestern high school as well as teacher perceptions about literacy policy and practices. It was found that 42 of the high school seniors read at or below the sixth grade level and would require remedial reading classes if entering college. Given the research findings and teacher perceptions, educational policies may require reforms including specialized remedial reading classes in high schools to address the growing number of functionally illiterate students rather than simply embedding reading strategies as a component of content area classes

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