Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Nancy Dishner

Committee Members

Terrence A. Tollefson, Louise L. MacKay, Elizabeth Ralston


The purpose of this study was to determine what, if any, associations existed between the implementation of the Open Court Reading® program in kindergarten and students’ reading achievement on the Terra Nova standardized achievement test in the first grade. The study involved first-grade students who attended kindergarten in one school system in East Tennessee. Using a quantitative design, this study included the first-grade Terra Nova scores from 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004. Scores obtained by first-grade students who did not receive Open Court Reading® in kindergarten (2001 and 2002) were compared with first-grade scores obtained by students who did receive Open Court Reading® in kindergarten (2003 and 2004). The study factored in gender, ethnicity, students receiving special education services, and Title I and nonTitle I status of the school attended. Reading Normal Curve Equivalent (NCE), vocabulary NCE, reading composite NCE, language NCE, and word analysis NCE scores from four years of Terra Nova scores were used in the analysis. t-tests for independent means and two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) were employed to examine the information. The data were analyzed using the Statistical Program for the Social Sciences.

Based on the findings, implementing the Open Court Reading® program in kindergarten appears to have reduced learning gaps that often emerge in early grades when children are learning to read. The findings indicated that a positive relationship exists between participation in Open Court Reading® in kindergarten and test performance in first grade. From the two years of test data analyzed after the implementation of Open Court Reading® in kindergarten, learning gaps between females and males diminished; in some cases the males surpassed the females. Implementation of Open Court Reading® in kindergarten does not appear to reduce differences in test performance between non-minority and minority students. Students with special needs who are exposed to Open Court Reading® in kindergarten appear to perform higher on reading subtests in the first grade. According to the results of the reading, reading composite, and word analysis subtests, Title I students reduced the gap with nonTitle I students after they participated in the Open Court Reading® program in kindergarten.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.