Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Barbara Hill, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Trevor Turner, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Darell Groves, Ed.D.


This mixed methods study was designed to examine the effectiveness of the HearBuilder Phonological Awareness software program on the acquisition of phonological awareness in African-American preschool children. Additionally, the researcher investigated the relationship between the independent variables of student engagement, student motivation, student behavior, and student attendance on the dependent variable of acquisition of phonological awareness as measured by the gain score. Descriptive statistical analyses were used to describe, summarize, and interpret the data collected. After examining the aforesaid variables, the researcher found there were no significant relationships between the gain scores and any of the independent variables. But there were useful significant relationships between the independent variables of student motivation, student engagement, and student attendance. The researcher also examined the differences between the pretest and posttest for the experimental and control groups combined. A significant difference was found between these two tests suggesting that the HearBuilder Phonological Awareness software program was effective in improving student’s performance in the experimental group. There was no significant difference, however, between pre and posttest based on gender. So while one can see the effectiveness in the HearBuilder Phonological Awareness program based on the difference between the pre and posttest, the reason does not lie in the variables selected as independent variables, but in other variables not included in the study such as instructional strategies. Finally, the researcher investigated the difference in the performance of the experimental group and the control group as measured by the mean gain scores. Key results revealed that the experimental group scored higher than the control group on the HearBuilder Phonological Awareness posttest as measured by the gain score. Early Childhood administrators can utilize this investigation as a vehicle to advance their instructional leadership skills and teachers can improve their pedagogical practices.