Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Susan Korach, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Ellen Miller-Brown

Third Advisor

Antonio Olmos

Fourth Advisor

Michelle Vanchu-Orosco


English language learners, Meta-analysis, Reading, Research-based interventions, Response to intervention, Tier I, Tier II


The Response to Intervention (RTI) model, introduced as part of the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 2004, is a proactive process of early interventions and evidence-based instruction for all students. RTI has additional intensive and individualized interventions to prevent student underachievement, including students at risk for academic failure and culturally and linguistically diverse students (Vellutino et al., 1996; Donovan & Cross, 2002; Francis, Rivera, Lesaux, Kieffer, & Rivera, 2006; Fuchs & Fuchs, 2006; Vellutino, Scanlon, Small, & Fanuele, 2006; Al Otaiba et al., 2009). Klingner and Edwards (2006) suggest that the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students differ from the general population of students. Research indicates challenges with RTI implementation with English Language Learners (ELLs) (Klingner, 2010). There is a growing body of research on RTI implementation; however, evidence-based interventions are not applicable to all students and the impact of interventions on ELL students is not clear.

The purpose of the study was to determine if there was empirical support for Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III research-based reading interventions that produce improvement in reading for ELLs. This meta-analysis included twenty-seven studies published from 2005 through 2013 that quantitatively examined the effects of research-based reading interventions for ELLs as part of the RTI model.

The meta-analysis raised questions about the dominance of Tier II interventions in the research, the lack of difference between treatment and control groups, and the teacher's background and context. This study was expecting to find a difference between the treatment and control groups receiving RTI interventions but instead it revealed large effect sizes for control and treatment groups across interventions except for Tier II interventions targeting reading comprehension. Therefore, before adopting Tier I and Tier II reading programs for ELL students, education leaders need to carefully examine results of these interventions with this subgroup. A key element of the culturally and linguistically responsive RTI model is the need for teachers with culturally responsive practices and knowledge about the needs of ELLs (Klingner & Edwards, 2006). The primary studies targeted the essential reading components proposed by the National Reading Panel, conducted trainings about the implementation of the intervention, and used rigorous methods to ensure fidelity of the intervention but there was not clear evidence of linguistically and culturally responsive practices. This finding suggests that future research with ELLs and RTI should address the preparation of teachers or personnel delivering the interventions and investigate possible moderators that can explain the heterogeneity among effects sizes.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Maritza Torres


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

166 p.


Educational Leadership, Education Policy, Psychology