Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Education, Major: Educational Studies (Teaching, Curriculum, and Learning), Under the Supervision of Professor Guy Trainin. Lincoln, Nebraska: July, 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Amanda M. Mancini-Marshall


While research on Response to Intervention (RTI) has focused almost exclusively on elementary education, an increasing number of middle and high schools are adopting this framework as a way to match student needs with instruction that accelerates academic growth. Without age-appropriate models, curriculum, or interventions, secondary schools often attempt to simply replicate elementary practices with limited success. These attempts typically take a prescriptive approach to reading instruction for struggling below-grade-level readers. However, this self-study examines how one research-practitioner designed, implemented, and modified a middle school Tier II RTI reading course with the goal of improving student self-determination as well as reading achievement. The course fostered self-determination via promoting autonomy, relatedness, and self-competence while using individual literacy stations and small group instruction to grow reading achievement. The study offers a fresh approach to working with struggling middle school readers and highlights the tensions between theory and practice and between teacher control and student autonomy.

Advisor: Guy Trainin