Date of Award



© 2022 Luke Callahan

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Laura Bertonazzi

Second Advisor

Jennifer Scott

Third Advisor

Katie Novak


Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles that provides an innovative curriculum and instructional design framework. By eliminating learning barriers across a wide range of learner variations, UDL implementation can enhance teaching and learning. This study explored the perceptions of a sample of third and fourth-grade school teachers in a suburban school district outside of Boston, Massachusetts, implementing the principles of UDL to support the achievement of economically disadvantaged students. The constructivist theories of Vygotsky and Piaget guided the study's conceptual framework. The five prominent themes that emerged from the semi-structured interviews were (1) classroom learning environment, (2) teaching and learning strategies, (3) identifying and supporting economically disadvantaged students, (4) obstacles to implementing the UDL framework, and (5) application of the UDL guidelines. After examining the perceptions of the UDL framework through an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), the researcher gathered three findings which were (1) an inconsistent means of identification of economically disadvantaged students, (2) inadequate differentiated instruction for economically disadvantaged students, and (3) a general dissatisfaction with professional development to support continued UDL implementation.


Ed.D. Dissertation