Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Kristin Harbour


This Mixed-Method Action Research study aimed to implement an extended Project-Based Learning professional development series with middle school science teachers. The professional development series took place during the teachers’ Communities of Practice, offering them high-quality support, active participation, and content-specific conversations.

The study collected data on (a) changes in teachers’ attitudes toward in-district professional development, (b) teachers’ perceptions of students’ 21st-century skills, and (c) changes in science teacher self-efficacy. Findings from this study add to the growing body of research indicating the need to offer teachers content-specific, supportive, and extended professional development opportunities. Additionally, the findings of this study indicate that teachers using Project-Based Learning in middle school science classrooms perceived an increase in their students’ use of 21st-century skills.


© 2023, Margrett Caroline Upchurch-Ford

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