Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Andrew W. Place

Department Affiliation

Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership

Second Advisor

Charles S. Hausman

Department Affiliation

Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership

Third Advisor

Bill Phillips

Department Affiliation

Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership


The purpose of the qualitative study was to examine the perceptions of success regarding project-based learning implementation into classes in an urban Alternative Education Center. Specifically, how do current teachers describe project-based learning instruction within their classrooms at an urban alternative education center? My perspective was influenced by my own wondering if project-based learning was the best model of instruction for alternative school students. The decision to pursue this topic is based upon my experience working in alternative education and witnessing concerted efforts to implement PBL into my daily practices. I chose a grade 7-12 alternative education center located in Kentucky and data was collected through one-on-one interviews with school faculty, staff, and leadership. Classroom observations were employed, field notes were taken, and anecdotal evidence was collected and included in the findings of my study. Data was collected from school documentation such as the school website, the state’s school report card, employee and student handbooks, and weekly email communication. The findings of my study present three themes impacting the perception of success in implementing project-based learning: 1) the impact of teacher’s past experience on their ongoing self-evaluation of their strengths and weaknesses; 2) the role confidence (or lack thereof) plays in the participants ability to maneuver through new instructional models; 3) the importance of school environment when designing a school-wide teaching methodology. These themes work hand-in-hand to influence the ability to successfully implement project-based learning into an alternative education center.