Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




College of Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Alex Herring

Second Advisor

Doris Brown

Third Advisor

Erin Burt


South Carolina's Charter School Act of 1996 was passed for the primary reason of improving education for the state. A part of this improvement would come by way of charter schools providing innovative ways of teaching and learning. In 2017 WCSD was established, in hopes of answering the call of the 1996 Charter School Act by providing innovative ways of educating students, thus improving public education in the state. Today, South Carolina's school system ranks 44th in the nation, out-performing only six other states, and there is no data proving or disproving the impact of WCSD on education. The purpose of this research is to investigate the impact of WCSD on the reading achievement of its third-grade students enrolled in three of its innovations: Vision School of Excellence PBL, Mauldin School of Excellence College Readiness and Virtual Academy of the State. The data for this study was collected from school year 2020-2021 SC READY ELA assessment results. Analyzing the overall reading achievement of these innovations will not only inform policy makers on the achievement of charter schools, but it will also provide data for parents to make informed decisions about what types of charter schools may best educate their children. This data is equally important to both charter schools and TPS leaders so they too can make informed decisions about their own instructional practices. The results of the study create an increased focus on the reading achievement of charter school students and further efforts to prepare all students for reading success.