Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation




College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Abraham Wandersman


Several studies suggest that if evidence-based school innovations are to be successful, schools must possess adequate capacity to implement them with quality. This paper utilizes a framework of organizational readiness called R=MC2, positing that readiness to implement with quality consists of three components: general capacities, innovation-specific capacities, and motivation. Specifically, this paper investigates whether certain key characteristics of professional development (active learning, integration, time for practice, collaboration, tailoring, coaching, and provision of feedback) can impact teacher motivation to implement novel educational practices. The paper answers two major research questions: 1) Which characteristics of quality professional development (PD) are related to each of the components of motivation described in the R=MC2 model? and 2) Is motivation a significant mediator of the relation between quality professional development and teacher implementation of new practices? Data for this study were collected from a district-wide one-to-one computing initiative in a Southeastern school district. The purpose of the initiative was to provide each student in grades 3-12 with a personal laptop or tablet, with the goal of increasing personalized, authentic, collaborative, and tech-integrated (PAC-Tech) learning in the district. Data were collected from two sources: 1,509 teachers completed a survey relating to PD at their school, their motivation to implement the initiative, and their use of PAC-Tech learning in the classroom. In addition, four district-level Technology Integration Specialists (TIS) provided data concerning PD quality at each of the district’s schools as a secondary source of data. Mediation analyses revealed that motivation was a significant mediator of the relation between PD quality and teacher implementation quality. Using multi-level regression, analyses suggest that the most influential characteristics of PD on motivation are 1) integration of new ideas with teachers’ existing knowledge, 2) tailoring PD to teachers’ individual needs and preferences, 3) providing opportunities for collaboration among teachers, and 4) providing consistent feedback to teachers. Thus, the present results predict that schools that design PD that integrates new and familiar concepts to make it easy for teachers to learn a new practice, that allow teachers to work together in learning that practice, that provide feedback to teachers during the learning process, and that survey teachers about their specific needs, preferences, and learning styles are more likely to secure buy-in and support from teachers for a particular innovation. Further, this buy-in is subsequently related to the likelihood and quality of teacher implementation of that innovation. These results are likely to be of interest to schools and school districts seeking to enhance implementation of educational innovations and increase teacher buy-in for using novel, evidence-based strategies.


© 2016, Robert S. Markle