Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

School Name

Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education



Major Advisor

Dr. David Paige

Second Advisor

Dr. Grant Smith

Third Advisor

Dr. Katie Partin


Using Tinto’s student departure theory (Tinto, 1975, 1993, 2012) and the simple view of reading (Hoover & Gough, 1990), this study explores the relationship between reading fluency indicators and achievement on the ACT reading sub-test and the ACT composite score. The study utilizes reading samples obtained from first-year college students attending a small, private university in the southeastern United States. A non-random sample of students (n = 95) was recorded while reading a college-level, informational passage measured at the 1470 Lexile level. Results of using hierarchical linear regression revealed that word reading accuracy as measured by reading miscues predicted unique variance in both ACT reading sub-scores and in ACT composite scores. Reading miscues explained 19.2% of the variance in the ACT reading sub-score and 24.0% of the variance in ACT composite scores. Issues of college-student literacy, readiness, and persistence to degree completion are explored. Implications of the study support the need for pre-matriculation indicators of incoming student academic competencies for universities to provide equitable and adequate academic support for all students for persistence to degree completion.