Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Timothy Lafferty


A public suburban high school in South Carolina used a mastery-based learning program called Power of M that was created with the specific goal of decreasing the number of students who repeated the 9th grade. A large volume of 9th grade students who were enrolled in the English 1 mastery-based learning course failed, which prompted this study. The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate teachers' perceptions and experiences about mastery-based learning, about student performance within this program, and about teachers' professional needs to improve program delivery. Bloom's mastery-based learning theory formed the conceptual framework that guided the study. The research questions focused on English 1 teachers' perceptions and experiences about teaching practices in the mastery-based learning program, implementation of the program, and training needs. A case study design was used to capture the insights of 6 English 1 teachers through semistructured interviews and observations of mastery-based learning classroom. Teachers who were currently teaching in the English 1 mastery-based learning program or who had previously taught in the program in the past two years were invited to participate in this study. Emergent themes were identified through open coding, and the findings were developed and checked for trustworthiness through member checking, rich descriptions, and triangulation. The findings revealed that English 1 teachers recognize the benefits of mastery-based learning, that a system is needed to identify students' learning styles, and that teachers need training in planning and organization. This study has implications for positive social change by offering a structure to provide teachers with strategies and approaches for managing the mastery-based instructional program.