Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Lucy C. Pearson


Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for writing have created a challenge for teachers at an urban elementary school as they struggled to provide effective writing instruction to support the rigorous expectations of the standards. The purpose of this study was to explore elementary teachers' lived experiences of instruction and better understand instructional writing procedures and strategies. The conceptual framework of this study was based on Dennick's work for incorporating educational theory into teaching practices, which combined elements of constructivist, experiential, and humanist learning theories. Research questions investigated how teachers perceived the impact of the CCSS writing standards on their practice and what kinds of support they needed in order to effectively support writing instruction. A phenomenological design was selected to capture the lived experiences of participants directly associated with CCSS writing instruction. The study included 6 individual teacher interviews and a focus group session of 6 teachers who met the criteria for experience in Grades 3-5 at the elementary school. Data were coded and then analyzed to determine common themes that surfaced from the lived experiences of teachers including the need for training in writing instruction, the impact of common core standards on the increased rigor of current writing instruction, a lack of PD at the local school, and instructor challenges with differentiated writing instruction. A job-embedded professional development model was designed to support teachers with effective writing instruction and improve teacher practice at the local school, the district, and beyond. When fully implemented, this professional development may provide elementary teachers with research-based writing strategies that will support the rigor of CCSS standards and college and career readiness.