Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Mundschenk, Nancy


A multiple baseline across participants design was used to examine the impact of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), implemented as a total framework, on the academic engagement of middle school students with emotional or behavioral disorders (EBD), and students who are at-risk for academic failure due to behavior problems, who are included in general education classes. Five teachers from two middle schools participated in professional development on UDL and UDL lesson plan design and then implemented UDL lessons in their classes. Data were collected on the fidelity of UDL implementation, student academic engagement during lesson plan implementation, and teacher acceptability of UDL. Results from implementation fidelity data indicated that after professional development on UDL, the teachers designed and implemented UDL lessons with limited fidelity. Results from student engagement data indicated that brief and limited exposure to UDL is insufficient to produce measureable improvements in student engagement, although increased interest and involvement was noted during specific types of UDL-related learning activities. Results from the teacher acceptability survey indicated that the teachers found UDL to be an acceptable treatment for improving engagement, but they were somewhat uncomfortable with a student-centered classroom and thought UDL was time consuming to implement.




This dissertation is Open Access and may be downloaded by anyone.