Date Awarded

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Megan Tschannen-Moran

Committee Member

Thomas J Ward

Committee Member

Denise Johnson


The third grade year is a seminal moment for children moving into a fluent reader stage that continues to evolve well across their school career. Research indicates that not learning to read well by the third grade sets some children on a path of overall diminished school and life success, and thus, school leaders are faced with the challenge of altering the trajectory for students behind their peers in reading development. School leaders and teachers have a limited number of tools to assess literacy progress of beginning readers; therefore, it is important educators understand the connections between two of the most commonly used assessments. This exploratory study investigated the correlations between an Informal Reading Inventory (IRI), specifically, the Rigby, and the Virginia third grade Standards of Learning (SOL) assessment as well as a survey to capture principals’ self-ratings around the use of IRI quantitative and qualitative information within a data-informed instructional decision-making model. Findings indicated a significant relationship between the Rigby IRI and the Virginia third grade reading SOL as well as a significant relationship between where students scored on the quarter 1 Rigby IRI and where they end on both the quarter 4 Rigby IRI and the SOL. Moreover, principals’ perceptions of their leadership skills and processes indicated a stronger knowledge base and use of quantitative data from IRIs within a data monitoring system and a benchmarking process rather than the qualitative personalized instructional use of data from an IRI. If acceleration in reading progress is to be achieved in order to close reading gaps, IRI qualitative data needs to be utilized for a more dynamic instructional approach. Recommendations for practice and future studies are offered.



© The Author