Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Carla Sparks

Second Advisor

Dr. Lorrie Butler


Third-grade reading proficiency is an indicator of future student success in middle school and ninth grade, on-time graduation rates, and career success; however, 44% of third-grade students in one state were not meeting this goal. The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which virtual school in second grade prepared students for third- grade reading achievement. I used a mixed methodology to compare extant data from a state database on third-grade state achievement tests in the area of English Language Arts. Sixty-one second and third-grade teachers completed surveys, and three teachers participated in follow-up interviews. The data from my study demonstrated that third- grade students in virtual school outperformed third-grade students in face-to-face learning environments in reading proficiency by seven percentage points on the State Standards Assessments between the years 2015-2019. These data were in direct contradiction with the data from the teacher survey and interviews. With the results from this study, I made recommendations using Michael G. Moore's Theory of Transactional Distance to improve teacher effectiveness in online instruction to increase student reading achievement.