Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) has been identified as a contemporary instructional model for promoting inclusion and equitable opportunities for diverse and struggling learners. However, research regarding teachers' perceptions of UDL and its effective implementation is limited, making planning, implementing, and providing professional development difficult for administrators. Guided by the constructivist views of Vygotsky and Piaget, this qualitative case study was designed to understand teachers' knowledge and perceptions of how UDL can be used to promote equitable inclusive instruction, implementation barriers, educational applications for UDL, and perceived needs to implement UDL. Participants were teachers who had implemented UDL from a public charter school serving only students in Grades 3-11 with low incidence disabilities; 20 participated in an online survey, 7 participated in an individual interview, and 3 participated in a group interview. Data were coded and analyzed for common themes. Participants expressed resistance to change, negative impressions of UDL, and disability bias. Recommendations for administrators included strategies for implementation of UDL, periodic collection of teachers' perceptions of UDL for formative purposes, modeling UDL for teachers, monitoring teachers' lesson plans, and classroom observations. This study contributes to social change by identifying teachers' perceptions of their own knowledge, needs, and barriers to implementation of UDL in order assist administrators in effectively preparing them for delivery of instructional services to enhance learning for all diverse and struggling students.