Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration

Committee Chair

Dianne Renn

Committee Member

Neil Sappington


There is growing consensus in the education world about the need to change the dominant practices in P-12 teacher professional development, which do not respect teacher knowledge and are unconnected to teachers’ daily work, to be more consistent with new and ambitious visions for school reform. This study employed collaborative action research, using improvement science, in which a small cadre of teachers worked through problems of practice to examine the effect on their practice and student learning. In this research project, I implemented a systematic evidence-based process developed by Anthony Bryk, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The focus was on improving the actual day-to-day work in the classroom, as well as, embrace an approach that utilizes multiple quick tests of change and iterative refinement of the interventions. Findings of the study showed improvement of professional practice through the use of collaborative action research. The teachers found that student learning was increased as a result of the collaborative action research process. Teacher perceptions documented the belief that the use of improvement science did positively inform professional development. The data showed teachers perceived that collaboration, shared goals and responsibility, trust, and process all contributed to a high level of quality professional development. This study was unable to sufficiently provide conclusive evidence that teacher action research can close the gap among professional development, evaluation, student learning, and school improvement. However, some consistent connections were noted.


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