Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 7-15-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Steven Hecht, PhD

Committee Member

Susanne Flannelly, PhD


Achieve3000, Freerice, Teacher-Directed Instruction, Vocabulary-in-Context, Vocabulary-out-of-Context, Web-Based Instruction


This study focused on the need to improve vocabulary and increase reading comprehension for remedial high school students in 11th and 12th grades. Methods or interventions included in-context, out-of-context vocabulary acquisition using web-based tools (Achieve3000 & Freerice) or teacher-directed instruction.

The study used the three methods of treatment or intervention to determine which treatment group was most effective in improving vocabulary and increasing reading comprehension. There are several different theoretical frameworks used in this study. Vocabulary in-context and out of context theories included Schema theory, self-teaching hypothesis theory, and the Matthew effect theory. These theories had in common an emphasis on the cognitive processing of reading-related information. Instructivism theory or approach is often called direct instruction. It is traditional teacher-directed, with the transfer of knowledge from teacher to student.

The study used a quantitative approach to determine the impact of web-based vocabulary acquisition tools versus teacher-directed instruction on vocabulary and reading comprehension skills of 11th and 12th-grade remedial high school students. Participants included 11th and 12th-grade students who were enrolled in Research and Critical Thinking (remedial) classes at a Florida, high school. The results of this study showed very little statistical differences between the groups. However, the out-of-context groups, both Freerice and teacher-directed instruction, showed gains. The researcher believes teaching vocabulary out-of-context show merit, and the approach could prove to be beneficial to remedial high school students in the 11th and12th-grades.

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