Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Kris De Pedro

Second Advisor

Whitney McIntyre Miller

Third Advisor

Jenifer Golden


Years of high stakes testing and managerial directives to improve student test scores created a trend of teachers’ declining sense of efficacy and agency. Researchers have yet to examine the perceptions of teachers following requirements to improve student engagement and school climate in an effort to improve academic performance following the authorization of local and national educational accountability reforms. The purpose of this study is to examine how teachers perceive their efficacy and agency in response to the addition of nonacademic measures and the requirement of documented input from teachers and other stakeholders into educational policy planning procedures. Veteran K-12 teachers’ responses to survey and interview questions were coded, analyzed, and organized into themes to generate an educational theory. Grounded Theory Methodologies (GTM), Culturally Responsive Methodologies (CRM) and Critical Pedagogy (CP) informed data collection methods and theoretical foundations for this study. The creation of a safe dialogical space between the practitioner researcher and participants developed a relationship for both to engage as co-researchers. Teachers discovered renewed senses of efficacy and agency while acknowledging their leadership potential in schools and the community. This study and further practitioner research with teachers in schools will inform pre-service education training programs and confirm teachers’ role as critical intellectuals in American society.