Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - NLU Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Harrington Gibson


The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) present clear academic expectations; however, research shows that students are still not well equipped with essential learning, literacy and life skills to succeed in school and the workplace. It is an uneasy task to prepare students for “lifelong learning and active citizenship” (Wagner, 2014, p. 14). There is an increasing need to provide objective, consistent, and meaningful feedback and a grading policy that focuses on student learning. This dissertation examines which feedback strategies in a Standards-Based Grading (SBG) environment from teachers’ perspectives are most effective in cultivating self-directed learners. The study evaluates the power and efficacy of feedback in developing the 21st-century learner attributes: thinking, action and life skills. The research also focuses on identifying a policy that will best support the district’s SBG practices and language by including the implementation of feedback guiding principles that address the advancement of students’ ability to self-monitor, self-assess, self-regulate, and self-reflect.

The participants in my research engaged in semi-structured interviews, observations, surveys and questionnaires, and reflective memos. Results revealed a need for changes in teaching and learning, assessment and measuring learning, and teacher development. Strategies and actions to accomplish the organizational change around the themes that emerged include:

  • Design and implement a framework for 21st-century learning.
  • Establish a clear framework for a comprehensive system of evaluating 21st-century skills.
  • Build capacity through robust professional development for all teachers for designing and delivering best feedback practices.