Date of Award


Degree Type



Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Nordgren, R. D.

Subject Headings

Reading First Program (U.S.), Educational change -- United States, Reading (Primary) -- Ohio, School reform


School reform policies have failed to produce sustained positive changes in education practice. Theories of school change provide structure to reform policy. Program evaluations focus on implementation and outcomes but seldom test the theoretical assumptions of the initiative. This study tested theory, specifically the influence of "ownership", against the experience of Reading First Ohio. This literacy program was implemented in elementary schools in low performing and very low socio-economic status urban and rural public districts in Ohio from 2003-2009. Archival data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. The analysis confirmed that the constructs of leadership and classroom change are mutually critical elements in school reform. The model failed to identify specific variables within the initiative structure that were tightly aligned to the theoretical assumptions. This study has implications for strengthening school reform policy

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