Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Department Chair

Jessica Glass Kendorski PhD, NCSP, BCBA-D

First Advisor

Virginia Burks Salzer, PhD

Second Advisor

Amanda Guld Fisher, PhD, BCBA-D

Third Advisor

Angela Gwathney, PhD


Adolescents’ critical text interpretation skills are important to college, career, and citizenship demands. At present, the literature reflects concerns with adolescents’ ability to interpret academic and internet-based texts critically. The pedagogical framework of critical literacy is presented as an instructional approach that may support the development of adolescents’ critical text interpretation skills. The objective of this study was to understand the perceptions of secondary teachers concerning student proficiency in critical text interpretation, teachers’ current level of implementation of instructional practices consistent with the critical literacy framework, and perceived barriers to implementation. Three hundred thirty four (334) high school teachers were surveyed. Teachers reported that students were more proficient in comprehension than in critical analysis. Most teachers reported not implementing internet searches or social media content into classroom instruction. Interestingly, teachers reported that students were more proficient in comprehending multimedia and social media content as compared with traditional academic texts. Regarding their implementation of instructional practices consistent with a critical literacy approach, most teachers reported not implementing the surveyed practices. Commonly reported barriers to implementation included a perceived lack of relevance to a given class or course, particularly among math and science teachers. Lack of instructional time and curriculum-pacing concerns was also a commonly reported barrier. Among teachers of special student populations, student instructional level was a commonly-indicated barrier. Current findings contribute to an understanding of the current status of adolescents’ critical text interpretation skills, related instructional practices, and barriers to implementation which may guide further research and development in this area.