Special Education ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-9-2020


Students with disabilities have been underrepresented in research examining the implementation of project-based learning (PBL) instruction. This qualitative case study described the experiences of a student with a disability in an inclusive classroom where teachers used PBL instruction. I used interviews, observations, audio recorded conversations in class, and analyzed teacher-created curriculum documents and student artifacts. Thematic analysis generated four primary themes including: Supporting students, student buy-in, teacher and student interactions in PBL are complex, and student demonstration of learning. Recommendations for classroom practice to support students with disabilities in PBL instruction included extensive teacher collaboration, individualized instruction, and teaching students time management skills. Extensive and continuous regular planning time and an emphasis on the social nature of learning also emerged as important implications for teacher practice. Suggestions for future research include more studies investigating PBL instruction including students with disabilities as well as studies of PBL in other settings.


disability, project-based learning, inclusion, descriptive research, case study

Document Type




Degree Name

Special Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Special Education

First Committee Member (Chair)

Susan Copeland, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Ruth Luckasson, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Julia Scherba de Valenzuela, Ph.D

Fourth Committee Member

Vanessa Svihla, Ph.D.