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Personalized Learning: A Case Study of Supporting Literature Applied to Practice and Implementation in a High School

Thomas, Matthew (2018) Personalized Learning: A Case Study of Supporting Literature Applied to Practice and Implementation in a High School. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This mixed methods case study examined a high school claiming to use personalized learning strategies. A review of literature revealed guiding supports that are used as a lens for data collection and analysis. The purpose of the study was to explore personalized learning through evidence, indicating the presence or absence of the guiding supports derived from the literature, focused specifically on the beliefs and practices of both teachers and principals. The seven guiding supports included (1) Professional Development for Teachers; (2) Readily Available Technology for all Students; (3) Flexible Scheduling; (4) Diagnosis of Relevant Learner
Characteristics; (5) Emphasis on Learning to Mastery; (6) Interdisciplinary Approaches; and (7) Collegial School Culture Influencing Systemic Change. The study used two questions: 1) How is personalized learning described in a school professing to implement personalized learning?
(2) How does the concept of personalized learning in a school map onto seven guiding supports of personalized learning strategies drawn from the literature? To illuminate and understand the qualities of the case, the study was conducted in several phases of inquiry. Participants from the high school participated in an online survey. Subsequently, the survey data was used as a filter to identify interview questions with both a teacher and a principal to understand better how their experiences related to various supports for implementation as defined in the literature review. Analysis of several documents provided a third exploration of the literature lenses. The study revealed that while personalized learning is a high-interest topic
in professional practice, the term has not been adequately defined. The study further revealed that educators might benefit from unified explanations of how personalized learning impacts expectations of performance at the local, state and federal levels. Finally, the study revealed that school leaders could be empowered by developing a heuristically-led way of thinking.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Thomas, Matthewmpt@pitt.edumpt0000-0003-3148-0353
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTananis, Cynthiatananis@pitt.edutananis
Committee MemberAkiva, Thomastomakiva@pitt.edutomakiva
Committee MemberKerr,
Committee MemberLongo, Jerrylongoj@pitt.edulongoj
Committee MemberTrovato, Charlenetrovato@pitt.edutrovato
Date: 25 September 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 25 July 2018
Approval Date: 25 September 2018
Submission Date: 25 September 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 181
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: personalized learning
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2018 03:25
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2018 03:25


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