Date of Award



© 2019 Colleen Kelleher

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Michelle Collay

Second Advisor

Jacqueline Lookabaugh

Third Advisor

Kimberly Provost


Elementary school is a critical educational period during which students develop early mathematics skills and build a foundation for future academic success. The purpose of this study was to document the instructional practices and interventions teachers use to identify and meet the needs of struggling learners in a K-3 mathematics classroom. Specific areas of focus included how K-3 teachers identify areas of need and plan for interventions, the resources they rely on in that process, and their own self-efficacy regarding addressing students’ specific needs. Results from online surveys and semi-structured, one-on-one interviews indicated that teachers identify a range of student difficulties including content specific skills (e.g., numeracy, counting, fact fluency), literacy skills, general domain skills (e.g., processing speed), math anxiety, and executive functions (e.g., working memory and attention). Participants acknowledged the range of challenges they face to support struggling students and discussed their practices of actively observing their students, intervening in the moment to address areas of difficulty, and collaborating with grade-level teams to discuss curriculum and share resources. Participants noted a need for professional development focused on targeted interventions and expressed interest in exploring supplemental materials for supporting struggling students. Extensive research that delves into the curriculum materials and assessment tools utilized across a range of K-3 settings is available; however, there is a gap in research related to targeting instruction to meet a range of learners’ needs in an elementary school classroom.


Ed.D. Dissertation