The impact of the Mississippi Department of Education's Dyslexia Grant Program on third grade achievement

Cena Windham Holifield

Abstract

Dyslexia is the most common reading disability and is non-discriminatory, affecting learners of all races and cultures (Shaywitz, 2003). Scientific data reveals dyslexia affects 70-80% of students with poor reading skills (Moats & Dakin, 2008). The Mississippi Legislature appropriates funds yearly to support the Mississippi Department of Education, (MDE) Grant Pilot Program (MDE, 2009). The purpose of this dyslexia grant program is to support general education teachers in meeting the needs of regular education students who have been identified as having dyslexia and related disorders (MDE, 2009). The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of the MDE Dyslexia Grant Program on student achievement as measured by the MDE Mississippi Curriculum Test, Second Revision (MCT2). Pre and post standardized testing data were studied comparing third grade language arts MCT2 test scores before the school districts received the MDE Dyslexia Grant to MCT2 language arts test scores one year after implementing the intervention. Since funding amounts varied among grant recipients, dollar amounts were examined to determine if that affected achievement scores. Interviews were also conducted with school grant recipients to determine how the students' progress was tracked and if the intervention programs were sustained beyond the grant cycle. The researcher's study revealed no significant difference between pre and post grant third grade language arts MCT2 scores; therefore, it was determined that grant dollar amounts and the type of intervention implemented had no effect on student achievement. Due to the lack of specific standards for tracking students' progress, the researcher was unable to determine the impact of the grant on dyslexic students' achievement statewide.