Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


Special Education

First Advisor

Kathleen Marshall


In education today there is a heightened emphasis on teacher accountability for improving student outcomes. The law requires that in order for a student to qualify as a student with a disability, the child's IEP team must ensure that the child's problem is not due to poor instructional programming. Therefore, the general education teacher is encouraged to use research-based interventions and a systematic method of data collection and progress monitoring, so he or she can determine whether a child qualifies for the referral stage of the special education identification process. Response to intervention (RTI) is a systematic multi-tiered process of instruction, intervention, monitoring and identification used to ensure that all learners are receiving appropriate education and that struggling learners are identified and assisted early before they fail.

The purpose of this study was to explore and gain information about teachers' and administrators' perceptions of RTI and the roles that school culture, personal beliefs, and knowledge of RTI may play in its implementation. I conducted a multi-site interpretive case study in order to examine some of the underlying factors that shape or influence how general educators and administrators implement RTI, including fidelity of implementation of the core curriculum and supplemental programs chosen for Tier 1 of the RTI process. Through individual interviews, observations and document review, I was able to capture teachers' and administrators' pedagogical beliefs and interpret how

they influence what general educators and administrators think about RTI and the ways the school implements programs for the general population of students. The findings illustrate how these three areas affect implementation efforts. The theories that guided this study included cultural theory (Deal & Peterson, 2009), conflict theory (LeCompte & Preissle, 1993), and structural-functionalism (Kingsbury & Scanzoni, 1993). Through the use of open coding and axial coding (Strauss and Corbin, 1990), thematic and narrative analysis (Hess-Biber & Leavy 2004), thirteen themes were developed from an interpretation of the participants' responses. Participants also shared other factors that impact implementation such as classroom sizes, scheduling, time and personnel. Funding and professional development was cited as a necessary for effective implementation


© 2013, Beverly Adhiambo Ochieng-Sande

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