Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)


Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Kristen B. Crossney, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Allison H. Turner, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Francis Atuahene, Ph.D.


This study explores reading proficiency as a public policy agenda indicator and hypothesizes that reading achievement scores among phonics-based, Reading First, literacy curriculum participants will significantly increase when a neuroscience-based intervention model is integrated into the instructional program. Using a deductive approach, English Language Arts (ELA) achievement percentages from 31 school districts in Maine were analyzed and compared to the Maine state average across 3 groups: All students, Economically Disadvantaged students, and Students with Disabilities. Secondary data was obtained from the Every Student Succeeds Acts (ESSA) Dashboard available on the Maine state government website. One-sample case t-test results indicate that the sample school districts scored significantly higher relative to all 3 groups, and that the possible effect of the ABC neuroscience-based intervention on reading achievement ranged from higher than small to slightly below moderate. Applications for the use of these findings as a policy stream indicator for agenda setting are discussed in addition to recommendations for educational practice and future research.