Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Karen Burke, CSJ, EdD

Second Advisor

Diana Friedlander, EdD

Third Advisor

Kathryn Palmer-House, EdD


Students across the United States are routinely administered state assessments to measure academic progress in the grade level they have been assigned. These tests have become the measure of a district or school's ability to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Many students are not able to attain the expected of level of proficiency. In 20II in rural high-need school districts in New York State,43 percent of third through fifth grade students did not make AYP in mathematics (non-AYP students; New York State Education Department, 20ll). The Common Core Standards have been implemented to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to succeed in college or a career (Common Core, 2014). Students who are unable to show proficiency in elementary school arc at risk of dropping out of school prior to graduation.

The purpose of this exploratory study was to compare the learning-style preferences of fifth grade students who achieved adequate yearly progress in mathematics and those who did not achieve AYP. The study investigated non-AYP students' use of tactual learning-style preference strategies and the perceptions of these students in the use of tactual materials. Fifth grade students in this study were administered the Learning Style: Clue to You! (LSCY), a learning-style assessment used to determine preferences and strengths for learning. Assessment data were used to determine the similarities and differences between AYP and non-AYP students with a Chi-square Crosstabulation test. The learning-style elements for auditory learning and time of day revealed significance between the groups.

Further analyses were completed with a Chi-square Goodness of Fit test to determine the learning-style preferences of non-AYP fifth grade students. Eleven of the 22 elements revealed significance within the group in the strands related to environmental, emotional, sociological, and physiological preferences.

Prescriptive training was provided to a select group of non-AYP students in using learning strategies that matched their tactual learning-style preference. Qualitative data were collected through the use of student portfolios, interviews, a focus group, and student self-reflections. Semi-structured interviews and a focus group were conducted to explore the use of the learning-style profile and the application of tactual strategies with mathematics. These data were examined to determine a better understanding of the connection between learning styles and students' perceptions. Analysis of the qualitative data revealed that students were able to identify preferences related to their learning style and students had an increased awareness of themselves as a learner.