Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name



Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Thomas G. Edwards


Stagnant growth on national standardized tests in mathematics and reading and a focus on disciplinary literacy in the Common Core State Standards in ELA, history/social studies, science, and technical subjects has prompted a resurgence in utilizing literacy strategies in the content areas in high school. While literacy standards in mathematics are not explicitly identified in the Common Core State Standards, there may be a place for the use of literacy strategies in high school mathematics. This study explored the relationships between students’ mathematics and reading achievement scores at a small, suburban high school and the implementation of a school wide literacy program to inform curriculum development and instructional strategies.

The reading and mathematics achievement of students in ninth through eleventh grade was retroactively analyzed to identify changes in student achievement over a two-year period. In the first year, the ninth grade cohort showed statistically significant improvement on both measures of mathematics achievement. Within this ninth grade cohort, students who qualified for free lunches also saw statistically significant improvement in mathematics. None of the other groups showed improvement on both measures of mathematics achievement or reading achievement. In the second year, both the ninth and tenth grade cohorts showed statistically significant increases on both mathematics and reading achievement. Within each of these grade level cohorts, females and white students also saw statistically significant increases in both mathematics and reading. The eleventh grade cohort did not have any significant increases on either measure.

On the state top-to-bottom ranking, this high school has moved from the 4th percentile to the 25th percentile during the implementation of the school wide literacy program. While national standardized tests have shown little to no improvement over the last several administrations, this small, suburban high school has seen continued growth over the last several years. Though the results of this study cannot be used to determine a causal relationship between the implementation of literacy strategies and the academic achievement of students in either mathematics or reading, it does provide a case for further investigation into such a relationship.