Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership (Ed.D)


Educational Leadership

Committee Chair

Dr. Mei-Lin Chang

First Committee Member

Dr. Michelle Head

Second Committee Member

Dr. Brendan Callahan


Integration of the engineering design process (EDP) into the high school biology classroom may improve academic achievement, alter epistemological beliefs about learning science, and positively influence student perceptions of science self-efficacy and self-determination. This quasi-experimental research study tested these claims by implementing an EDP curriculum within two honors biology classes (n=36) at an independent high school in a large urban city in the Southeastern United States. Two additional honors biology courses at the school (n=34) were instructed using the department's traditional curricular resources. Achievement data were collected from both groups and compared for statically significant differences using independent t-tests and one-way MANOVA. Students in both groups also participated in Likert-type surveys pre-and post-intervention, evaluating changes in perceptions of scientific confidence, motivation, self-efficacy, self-determination, and epistemological beliefs through paired t-tests. Results of this study showed no significant difference in overall achievement scores or final grade averages between the experimental and control groups, however, students in the experimental group scored significantly higher on all assessment questions that measured higher-order thinking skills, including critical thinking, problem-solving, and application. Analysis of survey results demonstrated that the intervention positively influenced students’ perceptions of all constructs tested, as well as epistemological beliefs about the characteristics of successful students. Together, these data indicate the integration of the engineering design process into the life science classroom should be further explored by teacher leaders for its ability to positively impact educational change within the discipline.