Date of Award

Summer 8-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Joseph F. Kovaleski, D.Ed.

Second Advisor

Lynanne Black, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Timothy Runge, Ph.D.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a school’s poverty level on oral reading fluency (ORF) reported for students identified as having a specific learning disability (SLD) versus those who have been referred for SLD assessment but were not identified as having an SLD during the special education eligibility process. The ORF scores and demographic data from 171 students were collected from six school districts located in a Midwestern state. The data were analyzed to determine whether there were differences in the mean ORF scores between the low-, mid- and high-SES groups. The results indicate that the mean student ORF score from the low-SES schools was significantly lower than the mean student ORF score from mid- and high-SES schools. Additionally, a significant difference in mean ORF scores existed between non-eligible and eligible students. Students who were found not eligible for special education services had higher ORF scores than students who were found eligible for special education services. Implications for the local educational agency (LEA) determining the standard used to refer a student for an evaluation to determine special education eligibility and using the results of this study to influence social policy are discussed.