Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Kathleen Van Horn


In the public education accountability movement, politicians and corporate reformers claim that student performance on standardized tests is an appropriate and reliable measure of a teacher's ability to educate. Given the process of holding K-12 classroom teachers directly accountable for individual student achievement based on standardized testing results, the teachers at XYZ Elementary School are currently motivated to change only through externally controlled factors or extrinsic motivation. The purpose of this research was to explore processes other than extrinsic motivation that motivate teachers to engage in strategies and methods that indirectly influence students to learn over the long term. The purpose of the mixed transformative emancipatory design focused on change orientation and the social injustice inflicted upon professional educators (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). The study took place at a single-site elementary location with 19 volunteer teachers. The qualitative and quantitative data included 2 assessments, 1 experiment, 1 activity, and individual interviews. Data analysis of this transformative, mixed-methods, emancipatory design revealed the participants of XYZ Elementary School were ready and willing to change, felt low levels of autonomy in the workplace, experienced levels of flow (intrinsic motivation) in the classroom, and experienced low levels of support or appreciation from political leaders and the business community. The implication for local social change is the reexamining of current extrinsic motivation and management techniques to help educators become more effective. Broader social implications of this study are that teachers who experience higher degrees of autonomy and sense of purpose also feel a greater amount of intrinsic motivation to teach and learn.