The purpose of this study was to understand the impact of a signature pedagogy used in a doctoral educational leadership program. Our doctoral program is designed for action-research for doctoral students to identify and take action on a problem of practice within their school district. The problem of practice is rooted in Rick Mintrop's design-based school improvement model. Furthermore, specific tools are taught to doctoral students so that they can identify deep-root problems within the school context. In this study, an equity audit was used as a tool for doctoral students to identify areas associated with equality, ethics, or social justice. The researcher examined 39 doctoral students’ equity audits through a content analysis lens to identify commons themes. The inquiry leads to doctoral students identifying inequitable areas in their school district and creating action steps to address them. There were five themes that emerged: payroll teachers compared to the state average, the imbalance of teacher demographics verse student demographics, lack of funding for special populations, a disproportionate amount of discipline referrals of minority students, and the low percentage attendance rate of student sub-groups. Furthermore, using the equity audit as a tool to examine school districts has started the process for doctoral students to identify a complex problem of practice in the field.
Dusty Palmer, Texas Tech University, United States