Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, Ed.D.



First Advisor

Phyllis Egby

LC Subjects

Education--Standards--United States; Educational accountability--United States; Educational tests and measurements--United States; Teacher effectiveness--United States


The theoretical framework for this study was Michael Polanyi’s concept of tacit knowing, that a professional’s knowledge is composed of both the things he or she can describe explicitly and a tacit component that is difficult, if not impossible, to define or describe. In the national context of an increasing emphasis on accountability, the use of data, and standardized testing, teachers’ judgments, composed as they are of a tacit component that can be difficult to express, are not always valued. A review of the literature revealed a gap in the research related to teachers’ abilities to identify individual student risk in reading. The purpose of this research was to determine if, in the context of a Response to Intervention framework, teachers’ professional judgments were equally predictive at determining risk level as the results provided by the screening tools in common use in school districts to identify students who would benefit from a reading intervention. This study examined two research questions: (a) what is the relationship between teacher judgment of student reading risk levels and the screening tool risk levels, and (b) are there variations in the relationships related to student characteristics? Using a tracking tool, 31 3rd and 4th grade teachers in a suburban school district in the Pacific Northwest recorded their determinations of their students’ reading risk. Those results were then compared with the fall universal screening reading risk determinations from STAR Reading. Percent exact agreement tests were used to determine the concurrent validity of the two measures. Overall there was an 83% match between STAR Reading and the teacher evaluations of each student’s reading risk. When the results were disaggregated, most groups had percent exact agreement rates above 80%. This study might suggest that a teacher’s professional judgment could be used as a screening tool, eliminating the need to purchase and maintain a commercially published assessment for the purposes of universal screening.


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