Graduation Year


Document Type

Master's Thesis


Master of Science



Program Director

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

First Reader

Katherine Lewis, PhD

Second Reader

Zoee Bartholomew, EdD


There are multiple barriers to learning that students face. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for teaching and learning that gives all students an equal opportunity to succeed. While many studies address the hurdles teachers face when implementing the UDL framework, there is a gap in the research about the support systems that can minimize those barriers for teachers. There is also a lack of existing studies about the additional frameworks that can work in connection with UDL to meet the needs of diverse learners. Using UDL and Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) together provides a framework that traditional approaches do not, which can help educators meet the needs of all students (Kieran & Anderson, 2019). For this project, nine teacher participants were interviewed from an independent, co-educational K-8 school in San Rafael, California. The interviews were designed to understand the perceived barriers teachers face when implementing new frameworks, such as UDL and CRT, and to discover beneficial supports that could be put in place to diminish barriers. An additional 15 teachers were surveyed to collect data that illustrated alignment with UDL and CRT practices. This convergent mixed methods study included collecting, analyzing, and interpreting both qualitative and quantitative data. The findings show how the principles of UDL and components from CRT can address learning barriers for students. Findings also indicate the perceived barriers when implementing new teaching practices and frameworks, such as time, institutional priorities, teacher mindset, philosophical buy-in, teacher vulnerability, and lack of support systems. Finally, this study showed a range of strategies that support the successful implementation of new practices and frameworks. These findings have important implications for schools and administrators who can mitigate the barriers teachers face when implementing new frameworks and provide teachers with actionable support systems.

IRB Number