Date Awarded

Summer 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Steven Staples

Committee Member

Thomas Ward

Committee Member

Steven Constantino


Early reading skills are strongly associated with long term academic and life achievement. Despite the recognized importance of literacy, indicators point to a literacy crisis in the United States. Research and policies have highlighted the necessity of selecting reading programs with documented effectiveness and implementing them with fidelity. This mixed methods program evaluation investigated the extent to which the Fundations reading program is being implemented with fidelity at a private urban elementary school and if there has been a change in student reading performance since introducing the program. This study also explored teachers’ perceptions regarding program strengths and challenges along with their own competency and need for support. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected in the form of implementation checklists, student running records scores, and a teacher survey. Findings indicated that the program is not scheduled for the prescribed frequency or length of lessons. This limited program exposure is significantly impacting overall fidelity, although ratings of adherence to the program and student participation are high. Despite program exposure issues, ANCOVA results demonstrated significant differences between student cohorts before and after Fundations was introduced. Post hoc analysis indicated that adjusted mean reading scores following Fundations implementation had increased by almost one full reading level compared to two out of the three years prior to the program. In addition, teachers identified professional development and implementation support as areas of need. Recommendations include allocating the minimum instructional time prescribed for Fundations, incorporating other measures of reading and approaches to analyzing reading data, increasing fidelity checks, and providing additional professional development.




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