Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


College of Education

First Advisor

David Virtue


The purpose of this study was to investigate the consistency with which middle level social studies and special education teachers and administrators assist, educate, and guide middle level social studies students with language-based learning disabilities. The study was an inquiry into the students’, teachers’, and administrator’s literacy beliefs and practices and it examined the coherence and congruence among these beliefs and practices.

Conducted as an action research study, it examined the extent of the alignment using data collected from five teachers, six students and one administrator by means of interviews, focus groups, photographs, journal entries, and inventories. The data from teachers included interviews, observations, focus groups, a literacy journal and inventories.

The primary aim of the study was to evaluate the extent to which schools provide well-aligned and congruent structural and organizational systems to support a coherent approach to literacy-based learning in middle level social studies classes. The findings suggest that there is coherence and congruence between the literacy beliefs of the students, teachers and administrator. They further suggest that for the most part, there exists congruence and coherence between the participants’ practices. However, there are some incongruences about students’ and teachers’ literacy based beliefs and practices in a middle level social studies setting. These are largely misconceptions and may be the source of some disconnect between these participants.

Implications for the field include the need to improve teacher and administrator opportunities for professional development and reflection as well as the need to define best practices, including metacognitive skills for students with language-based learning disabilities in a middle level social studies setting.