Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Mary L. Morton


The majority of teachers in a medium-sized, rural, low socioeconomic high school in the U.S. state of Arkansas were not implementing mandated project-based learning (PjBL) or were not implementing the method with fidelity, which was problematic because students may not have been reaping benefits associated with the method. The reasons underlying those conditions were not well understood. Therefore, the purpose of this study, which was reflected in the study's 2 main research questions, was to better understand why teachers at the focus school were not implementing PjBL or were not implementing PjBL with fidelity and to generate potential solutions for improving teacher implementation of PjBL. Concepts from Ajzen and Fishbein's theory of planned behavior, Bandura's self-efficacy theory, and Deci and Ryan's self-determination theory served as a foundation for understanding the conceptual framework in this study, teacher behavior. In this generic qualitative study, data were collected from 28 teachers using an online anonymous qualitative survey, and from 3 principals using a focus group. Documents from faculty and personnel meetings did not yield usable data. Open and axial coding were used to analyze the survey and focus group data. Results showed that teachers may not implement PjBL or may not implement it with fidelity because (a) they are not knowledgeable about PjBL, (b) they have a negative attitude toward PjBL, (c) they do not feel confident in their ability to implement PjBL, (d) they are not motivated to implement PjBL, and/or (e) they do not have the needed supports to implement PjBL. Results of this study could be used by stakeholders to improve teacher implementation of PjBL at the focus school, which could lead to positive social change in the form of improved student engagement, motivation, and achievement.