Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Special Education

Committee Chair

Barbara Ludlow


The purpose of this study was to determine whether students with significant cognitive impairments make measurable gains in reading skills as measured by the Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests -- Revised when taught using Direct Instruction reading programs. Additionally, the study explored teacher perceptions of the effectiveness of Direct Instruction for teaching students with significant cognitive impairments, and examined whether a relationship exists between teacher perceptions and student gains on the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test- Revised. Four special education teachers employed at a private licensed school for exceptional children in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania participated in the study. Repeated measures analyses of variance conducted on students' scores from the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test -- Revised/NU at five separate points in time across a 4-year period demonstrated statistically significant gains. Teacher interviews, observations, and surveys revealed positive attitudes toward the efficacy of Direct Instruction for teaching reading to students with significant cognitive impairments. Linear regression analysis showed a significant positive relationship between teacher perceptions and student gains for the first, but not subsequent years of the study.