Graduate Student Dissertations, Theses, Capstones, and Portfolios

Date of Award


Document Type


Granting Institution

Lynn University

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)

Degree Program

Educational Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Brittany E. Kiser

Second Advisor

Jennifer J. Lesh

Third Advisor

Grace Greenwood


The impacts of third-grade literacy have resulted in laws and various policies to support reading proficiency. Even with an increased focus on meeting the literacy needs of third-grade students, there remains an important question, “How can schools meet literacy needs while also developing learners with the 21st-century skills needed to contribute to the future workforce?” This study examined teachers' perception of Project-Based Learning to support third-grade reading and writing literacy goals. The following questions guided the study. What are elementary school teachers’ perceptions of Project-Based Learning as an approach to enhance literacy outcomes for third-grade students through cross-content integration of targeted English Language Arts standards? How can Project-Based Learning target reading and writing literacy goals across content areas? and is there a correlation between Project-Based Learning implementation and reading achievement of third-grade students within a large urban school district? Utilizing a mixed-methods research methodology, the core of the data collection method was qualitative, which was supported by quantitative data. Data from third, fourth, and fifth-grade teachers working within public schools in a large urban school district in Florida were included in the study. Through open-ended interviews, open and closed-ended survey questions, and analysis of assessment data, the research concluded with the following; teachers perceived Project-Based Learning as a viable means of supporting literacy goals for third-grade students. Teachers identified challenges such as time, a need for professional development, and resources. The benefits included students taking ownership of their work, opportunities for collaboration and communication, choice, student voice, differentiation, content mastery, real-life experiences, motivation, increased engagement, and increased student confidence. The data showed no significant correlation between teachers' perceived level of use within the third-grade classrooms at their schools and student's performance on state standardized assessments. The data also revealed a correlation between a school's Title I status and the third-grade standardized assessment data. The study shed light on the complexities of instruction and a need for professional development opportunities to address the multifaceted nature of Project-Based Learning while examining consistency, rigor, and student-centered practices.



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