Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Patricia Browne-Ferrigno


Professional development is a critical component of teacher professional growth that directly influences increased student learning and achievement. As professionals, teachers continue to develop their knowledge and skills with the aim of improving their teaching to assure that students can learn better. A huge investment in time and resources is invested in teacher professional learning every year. However, teachers report, and research supports, that teacher professional development often does not meet teachers’ needs and does not perform its integral function of creating a sustained change in teacher behavior that leads to a corresponding positive change in student achievement. This problem of practice directly affects the success of all students, teachers, and schools.

There exists, however, forms of professional development that do lead to this type of positive change, and one of those professional development models is classroombased action research. This dissertation reports outcomes of a mixed-methods actionresearch study exploring the effect of training teachers to use classroom-based action research as professional development in which they identified and worked through the action research cycle to solve their own problems of practice. It details a study of teachers who embarked upon cycles of action research in their own classrooms and teaching environments. Quantitative and qualitative data analyses indicate positive changes occurred in teacher behavior through their conducting action research projects and that positive changes occurred in learning and achievement among their students. Further analysis of study data revealed increased understanding of the purpose of professional development, need for sustained change, and expectations of professional development that contains the characteristics that support the development of those changes.

While a body of research on classroom-based action research already exists, findings from this study supports and extends understanding of the characteristics of effective professional development and establishes classroom-based action research as one of those practices. Additionally, this study’s finding of action research as a form of professional development that gives teachers “permission” to prioritize what they value in their classrooms opens up an additional interesting view into how teachers’ professional time is compromised by outside forces and requirements, which is an area that merits further investigation.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)