Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Teaching and Learning (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Wendy Cavendish

Second Committee Member

Beth Harry

Third Committee Member

Batya Elbaum

Fourth Committee Member

Janette Klingner


Latinos hold the highest dropout rate in the United States and have been found to be disproportionately represented in the categories of learning disability (LD) and speech and language impairment (SLI) in special education. With the introduction of response to intervention (RTI), a potentially beneficial framework for English learners (EL), the role of the EL teacher takes on an additional component. ELs’ teachers must be able to filter the data collected during the progress monitoring (PM) cycle through the lens of language development in order to make adequate intervention decisions for ELs. The aim of this study was to understand the ELs teachers’ decision-making process during the cycle of PM under RTI. Nine semi-structured interviews and four observations of student study team meetings (SST) were conducted. Participants were eight English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) certified teachers working with ELs and the assistant principal of an elementary school in Miami-Dade County. Analysis of the data was made through a grounded theory approach and yielded nine conceptual categories, three themes and one thematic statement. Findings suggest that ELs teachers’ sense of agency is impacted by a rigid RTI implementation and their beliefs about language and parents. This statement is supported by the themes: 1) RTI and PM indicators, 2) Language component and 3) Parents –agent/barrier. Recommendations based on the findings support an increase in teacher participation through collaboration in the RTI process, professional development in the area of language development and collaboration with parents.


Response to Intervention; English Learners; Progress Monitoring; Assessment; Early Intervention; Teacher Interviews