Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Sue A. Rieg

Second Advisor

Susan M. Sibert

Third Advisor

Francisco E. Alarcón


This mixed methods study explores students’ and teachers’ perceptions of 21st century skill development (i.e., collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, content mastery, and digital literacy) in high schools with one-to-one initiatives. Analysis of data from seven student focus groups and seven one-on-one teacher interviews revealed that high school students and teachers held similar perceptions around 21st century skill development. Both groups acknowledged that students’ communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills were supported through one-to-one initiatives. Despite their involvement in one-to-one initiatives, students struggled to explain digital literacy, with their definitions more limited than 21st century-skills-based literature definitions. Content mastery, although not generally included in 21st century skills frameworks, emerged as a skill in one-to-one initiative schools with both teachers and students. Across schools, students and teachers indicated a digital divide between university-bound students and those aspiring to the work world after graduation. The 54-item instrument resulting from the qualitative data was assessed by 12 subject matter experts for validity and reliability. After eliminating items, 53 undergraduate education majors assessed the remaining 34 items. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and a Games-Howell post hoc test determined significant differences between perceptions of items adhering to 21st century skill domains. Finally, exploratory factor analysis was used to guide item rewording for post-study pilot testing. The final 31-item instrument is a reliable and valid measure of 21st century skill development in high schools with one-to-one initiatives. While analyses suggest that one-to-one initiative high schools hold the potential to develop 21st century skills, each domain was supported inconsistently, with more items describing communication (n = 8) and fewer items describing collaboration items (n = 3). Items expressing creativity reflect an expanding definition, adding developing virtual models, creating new ways to do things online, and solving digital world problems to fine arts-associated definitions. Items associated with critical thinking reflect an enlarged understanding of the competencies necessary for operating in technology-rich classrooms. Content mastery reflects the finding that high school students use school devices to augment their classroom learning outside of class, supplementing instruction but not supplanting the teacher. Implications for professional development and future studies are offered.

Available for download on Tuesday, May 05, 2020