Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Vincent A. Anfara, Jr.

Committee Members

Pamela A. Angelle, Gerald C. Ubben, Mary F. Ziegler


The purpose of this mixed-methods, multi-site study was to identify and explore the concerns of teachers and principals implementing a pilot Response to Intervention (RTI) model in three elementary schools in the southeast United States and to determine whether these concerns differed significantly from the beginning to the end of the first year of implementation. The Stages of Concern from the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (George, Hall, & Stiegelbauer, 2006; Hord, Rutherford, Huling, & Hall, 2004) served as the theoretical framework for the design and analysis of this study.

Between Fall 2008 and Spring 2009, 18 participants, including six administrators and 12 teachers, were interviewed through semi-structured interviews. Observations and documents also served as data sources. The Stages of Concern Questionnaire was completed by 168 teachers and principals in Fall 2008 and Spring 2009. Paired samples t-tests were performed on the data to determine if levels of concern differed significantly over time.

Themes developed in the fall suggested: (a) confusion over the RTI process and difficulty scheduling the required components of RTI; (b) additional responsibilities placed on teachers, questioning the appropriateness of the RTI model for schools’ population of students, and delaying the process for referral for special education; (c) role impact on teachers feeling hampered in their duty to refer for special education services; and (d) improved instructional practices as a facilitating factor.

Spring themes included: (a) ongoing confusion over the RTI process and scheduling difficulties with additional concerns regarding insufficiency of training and the need for additional resources to sustain RTI implementation; (b) delay of services for struggling students; (c) role impact as teachers being forced to learn new ways of teaching and principals having to lead their staffs through conflict, in addition to guiding and supporting them; and (d) improved outcomes for students as a facilitating factor. Implications for practice and research are discussed.

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