Date of Award

Spring 4-20-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Special Education - General Curriculum (Ed.D)



Committee Chair

Dr. Kate Zimmer

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Melissa Driver

Second Committee Member

Dr. James Gambrell

Third Committee Member

Dr. Mei-Lin Chang


This descriptive study examines the effectiveness of a collaboratively-taught classroom literacy skills and language acquisition delivery collaborative classroom for middle school students who receive both special education and ESOL services. Limited research was found on best practices for teaching dually-served students, yet a noticeable increase of evidence indicates that ELs with disabilities require accommodations for language development and/or modifications for their disability in order to achieve academic success. This research combines theories of additional language acquisition and special education to show their relationship to the needs of dually-served students; it will address problems of serving ELs with disabilities. This research explores if an increase in reading proficiency was evident due to the implementation of the collaborative classroom. ELs with disabilities did show an increase in reading proficiency within all middle school grade levels; the largest growth was within dually-served students in the collaborative classroom for the spring 16-week session. When the researcher analyzed grade level data, she discovered that 154% of ELs with disabilities in the collaborative classroom increased their Lexile level. Examining data and feedback from the collaborative classroom revealed unique patterns and findings that can contribute to the field of education. This study will help determine effective interventions that address dually-served students’ unique populations, which is at risk of dropping out of school due to disability, language, literacy, or a combination of these factors. Additionally, the research will address effective ways to maximize integration of content instruction to increase student reading performance within the collaborative classroom for dually-served students.