Date of Award

Spring 2022

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Suzanne E Graham

Second Advisor

Suzanne E. Graham

Third Advisor

Paula M. Salvio


Educational policies and practices have had a long-standing emphasis of conducting incoming literacy screenings to determine who is at risk for school failure. Response to intervention (RTI) is an intervention program designed to deliver educational resources to students who fall below what is deemed an acceptable level of proficiency as viewed through the early screening process. The goal of the program is to provide early mitigation in order to catch students up to their peers, and to limit misidentification into special education. Studies have evaluated the success of the program in grades K-3 and shown mixed success. However, there was no evidence found with respect to the long-term academic outcomes for students who participated in the program. The overarching question in this study asks: what impact does Response to Intervention (RTI) have on the academic placement of students at the secondary level? Specifically, does RTI promote academic mobility or produce no or little effect on a student’s academic placement at the secondary level? The study used a retrospective-longitudinal design to investigate the relationship between RTI participation in the primary grades and academic outcomes at the secondary level using the indicators of English track level placement, average track level placement, and weighted GPA. This quantitative study used multiple regression analysis, logistic regression, and chi-square hypothesis testing to compare the student outcomes from three schools in the same district, two of which used RTI and one that did not. The results showed that RTI students had no significant difference in English track level placement, average track level placement, and weighted GPA compared to the non-RTI students; students in RTI who were from low SES families and in special education were more likely to be in lower-level tracks, and low-SES students were over placed in both groups, but more significantly in the non-RTI group. The study also addressed the overlap between race, poverty, and special education disproportion as viewed through the conceptual framework of eugenics, cultural capital, and deficit perspectives. The outcomes of this study provide necessary research as to the effectiveness of RTI in relationship to student academic outcomes at the secondary level; the association between early intervention and long-term academic success; and a glimpse at how lower-resourced communities may be affected by the intervention. Recommendations are to conduct a larger and more comprehensive study at the national level; include cultural course work in teacher education programs that lead to culturally sustaining pedagogies; and conduct a comprehensive qualitative analysis of student perspectives.