Date of Award

Summer 2006

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Dean S. Cristol

Committee Member

Belinda Gimbert

Committee Member

Shana Pribesh

Committee Member

Charlene Fleener

Committee Member

Neil A. Stamm


Many U.S. school districts are addressing concerns in the areas of literacy education, teacher shortages, and overall student achievement. Teacher preparation in the area of literacy education and the ability of core subject teachers to include literacy components in their daily lessons appears vital to student achievement. Teacher shortages, particularly in high need, "hard to staff'' urban schools, are a serious problem that alternative preparation programs help to address. Alternative preparation programs can provide highly qualified teachers in urban schools. The Transition to Teaching (TTT) trained teachers provided literacy education that in turn helped improve benchmark tests, end-of-year tests, cumulative scores, and standardized test scores.

The TTT Program, a joint partnership between a southeastern Virginia urban school system and a local four-year public university, provides a viable solution which addresses the need for highly qualified core teachers with literacy training in the school division. A quasi-experimental design was used to compare achievement levels of students taught by beginning core-area teachers prepared with content-specific coursework for teaching literacy skills in the TTT school-university partnership program with students taught by beginning core-area teachers who did not experience content-specific coursework for teaching literacy skills. The two groups of teachers, TTT and non-TTT, were also measured on literacy teaching efficacy based on scores from a literacy survey instrument. Results from the study in the area of student achievement revealed that middle school students taught by the beginning TTT teachers trained with content-specific coursework in teaching literacy skills achieved better overall than those students taught by the beginning non-TTT teachers who had no specific training in teaching literacy skills. Results from the literacy survey revealed no significant differences between TTT and non-TTT teachers in overall literacy teaching efficacy and their beliefs about the importance of teaching literacy skills across the curriculum. In summary, the study showed that the experience of completing content-specific coursework in teaching literacy skills positively impacted student achievement in middle school core academic content areas.


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