Alternative Title

Narrowing the Gap for Minority Learners


The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to 1) analyze the relationship between RTI tier of intervention, minority status, and reading growth and 2) explore school level factors that might explain differential growth of minority students in Tier 3 relative to their peers. I used the lens of Critical Race Theory in Education to explore the reading growth of minority students in Tier 3 relative to their peers which included non-minority students in Tier 3 as well as minority and non-minority students in Tier 1. I sampled a total of 1,002 minority and non-minority elementary students from three schools in one largely minority school district. I first conducted regression analyses to correlate tier of intervention and minority status with student reading growth. I then conducted a more in depth case study of the three schools to explore if there were plausible explanations of differential patterns of growth related to (1) articulation of data-based decision making for eligibility for Tier 3, (2) proportion of students in special education are also served in Tier 3, and (3) intensity of intervention in Tier 3. I found that two of the schools demonstrated patterns of more growth for minority students in Tier 3, whereas one school demonstrated a pattern in which minority students grew less in relation to their peers. These two schools may represent intentional efforts to narrow the reading gap for minority students with reading difficulties.

Key words: response to intervention, minority students, Critical Race Theory, reading growth

Degree Date

Summer 2020

Document Type


Degree Name



Teaching and Learning


Stephanie Al Otaiba

Second Advisor

Paul Yovanoff

Third Advisor

Francesca Jones

Fourth Advisor

Kristen McMaster

Subject Area


Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.