Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership P-12

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Hans Klar

Committee Member

Dr. Jacquelynn Malloy

Committee Member

Dr. Noelle Paufler

Committee Member

Dr. Daniella Hall Sutherland


The purpose of this research study is to determine how successful teachers allocate class time between the need for students to meet high-stakes testing and creating a constructivist learning environment that prepares students for real-world careers. In this study, I used an explanatory sequential mixed method design to explore how much class time teachers of English Language Arts (ELA) and math allow for constructivist activities and direct instruction. The findings showed that teachers of gifted and talented (GT) and advanced classes who use 70% or more of their class time for constructivist learning still successfully have 60% or more of their students meeting the targeted academic requirements. However, students in regular education classes were overwhelmingly unsuccessful on high-stakes tests. Based on the findings from this study, teachers give various student-led learning opportunities throughout the year but are not varying their usage to meet the academic abilities of students in each class. In addition, teachers reported having time to meet as subject-level educators but stated that the time was primarily unproductive in terms of discussing strategies to enhance student learning. In meeting the demands of both high-stakes learning and 21st-century skills, educators need to understand how class time structures affect learning. Likewise, administrators need to develop effective professional learning opportunities for teachers.



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