Term of Award

Fall 2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Yasar Bodur

Committee Member 1

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 2

Julie Maudlin

Committee Member 3

Nancy F. Dana

Committee Member 3 Email



Quality teaching and student achievement have been discussed in educational milieus for decades. However, as teachers are increasingly tasked with high-stakes testing and accountability, combined with diverse classrooms and budgetary constraints, the need for teacher professional development becomes especially significant. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine teachers’ perceptions of the relationship between job-embedded professional development in differentiated instruction and their students’ learning outcomes in high school social studies. For the purpose of this study, student learning outcomes included both cognitive and affective learning domains. This qualitative study explored the perceptions of six high school social studies teachers in a Georgia school district, featuring in-depth interviews as the primary method of data collection. Data analysis revealed themes related to knowledge construction, student learning outcomes, and teachers as learners. Although teachers’ perceptions indicated that the implementation of this particular professional development experience did not reflect the tenets of job-embedded professional development as touted, the results revealed compelling benefits of utilizing differentiated instruction on student learning outcomes in high school social studies in both the affective and cognitive learning domains. The results of this study also provided insight into teacher professional development which is beneficial for numerous educational stakeholders including, but not limited to, classroom and pre-service teachers, building- and district-level administrators such as principals, assistant principals, curriculum and instruction specialists, college and university professors, teacher education programs, parents, and students. Furthermore, the results of this study provided a foundation for continued discussion through its implications and recommendations, which are designed to improve student achievement through job-embedded teacher professional development.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material