Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Psychology and Special Education

First Advisor

Debra McKeown, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Karen R. Harris, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Kristine Jolivette, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Julie Washington, Ph.D.

Fifth Advisor

Lauren Boden, Ph.D.


The complex task of reading, understanding, analyzing, synthesizing, and subsequently writing in response to a prompt about multiple texts required by the Common Core writing standards is difficult for many students, especially struggling writers and students with learning disabilities. The majority of elementary teachers report having less than adequate preparation in writing pedagogy and identify writing as the area they feel least prepared to teach. In this multiple probe across participants study, two teachers, a special education teacher and a cooperating general education teacher in whose classroom he worked, served as teacher participants. The special education teacher implemented Self-regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) for informational writing citing text-based evidence from two sources following practice-based professional development (PBPD) with small groups of students. Three female and five male fifth-grade African American students teacher-identified as struggling writers or receiving Special Education services for a specific learning disability (LD) participated in the study. Research questions were: To what extent can SRSD be implemented with fidelity in small groups by a special education teacher in an inclusive general education setting? To what extent does SRSD instruction in the informational genre citing text-based evidence improve the writing skills of fifth grade students with LD or those who struggle in writing in terms of (a) analytic quality, (b) evidence of strategy use, and (c) length? To what extent is SRSD considered to be a socially valid intervention for use in inclusive education settings by the participating teachers and students? A teacher survey of classroom writing practices and observations of classroom writing practices were conducted prior to the intervention to contextualize current writing practices. Student writing probes were assessed for plagiarism, academic vocabulary, number of essay elements, evidence of strategy use, and length. Fidelity was collected for writing prompt administration, PBPD, and SRSD. The teacher implemented with high fidelity and rated PBPD favorably both before and after intervention. Following intervention, student analytic quality, evidence of strategy use, and number of words written increased. Instances of plagiarism were decreased following intervention. SRSD was rated high on measures of social validity by both students and teachers.