Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Sherwood Thompson

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Second Advisor

Angie Madden

Department Affiliation


Third Advisor

Roger C. Cleveland

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Self-regulated learning is a phenomenon recognized in nations with positive results on international assessments, such as the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment; IES, 2012). This qualitative, non-evaluative study sought to determine the presence of self-regulated learning in a rural middle school in the south-central United States by utilizing a phenomenological approach.

Self-regulated learning is a practice based upon the constructivist learning theories championed by theorists such as Bandura (1995) and Vygotsky (1978). Zimmerman (1990) coined the term self-regulated learning, which reflects a method by which students are responsible for their own learning through four stages: pre-planning, monitoring for progress, self-evaluation and reflection.

The participants in this study included five Social Studies teachers from a rural middle school in a south-central Kentucky school district. The teachers demonstrated various uses of SRL methodology in their Social Studies classes. These teachers used a program known as History Alive (Frey & Hart, 2005), which was arranged in mini-units of three or more lessons all tied together. The program equipped students with various opportunities to self-regulate their approach to content knowledge acquisition.

Argyris and Schon's (1974) espoused vs. enacted theory served as a lens through which this study's data was analyzed. This was done to determine if study participants actually carried out the SRL instruction like they had reported in the verbal interviews and written questionnaires that they completed during the study. Field observations were conducted to further understand SRL practices within these Social Studies classrooms.