Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Ed Bengtson

Committee Member

Kara Lasater

Second Committee Member

John Pijanowski


Action Research, Collective Efficacy, Learner Agency, School Culture


This study is designed to explore the perceptions of teachers in a Northwest Arkansas urban elementary school context as they engage in design-based action research to increase learner agency. It is based on the Carnegie Project on Education Doctorate (CPED) framework that includes identifying a problem of practice and engaging in research to address the problem. A problem of practice was identified in this school setting by an incoming school principal following a principal that had been in the school for many years. The new principal, also the researcher in this study, recognized that there was a low level of learner agency among both students and teachers. Students were not tracking their own learning or setting goals. Teachers had a low level of teacher efficacy and were frustrated with the low level of student achievement and the low level of student motivation. To address this problem of practice, a design-based action research study was developed by the new principal and the new leadership team. At the time that research data was collected for this qualitative study, the teachers had been engaging in action research for eight months. This study will include interview data collected from all fifteen teachers that were willing to participate including all first through six grade teachers, a self-contained special education teacher, and two interventionists that had engaged in the design-based action research to increase learner agency. This study helped determine the next steps that should be taken in the cycle of inquiry in this school and serves as a resource for educational leaders that wish to address similar problems of practice.