Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology


School Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (x, 123 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Deborah K Kundert

Committee Members

Dean Spaulding, Bruce Saddler


Reading (Middle school), Language arts (Middle school), English language, Middle school students, Academic achievement

Subject Categories

Educational Psychology


With general instruction, most students’ reading skills develop overtime. For some, additional intervention in certain areas is necessary to acquire expected reading ability. One of five components of reading as identified by the National Reading Panel (NRP; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development [NICHD], 2000) included phonemic awareness (PA). Recognized as necessary to develop more complex skills, interventions for students’ PA abilities is thought by some to increase overall reading performance (Kilpatrick, 2013; 2015). One school district developed and implemented a new class program with the goal of increasing middle school students’ overall academic outcomes through targeted intervention with focus on PA within the class in response to the identification of students who were continuing to perform below grade level expectations in the area of reading as well as overall academically. This program uniquely addressed PA abilities in the middle school population, for which there is extremely limited research and recommendations related to best practice and implementation. Archival data from the first year of the program were utilized to evaluate student outcomes one year after participation in the class. These data included report card grades and New York State (NYS) standardized test scores in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. Analyses revealed no statistically significant differences in students’ overall academic performance across core class report card grades nor standardized test scores. Additionally, no statistically significant differences in rates of passing the NYS ELA and math tests by demographic characteristics were found. Additional visual analyses were completed to offer the district additional information that may be of use in future program refinement despite non-significant findings utilizing data from the small sample. These analyses highlighted which academic variables students’ test scores or grades increased most, as well as which experienced minimal changes or decreased performance. This program evaluation included discussion of recommendations for the future of the current program and the district’s practices. Additionally, implications and limitations noted at the time of completion are presented.