Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Dane Joseph, PhD

Second Advisor

Karen Buchanan, EdD

Third Advisor

Jay Mathisen, EdD


This Improvement Science Dissertation in Practice (ISDiP) aimed to investigate the use of tabletop role-playing games in supporting the social and emotional development of students in upper elementary grade levels. Using a mixed-methods approach, this ISDiP follows a team of invested school community members as they planned, implemented, studied, and reflected on the outcomes of initiating targeted social and emotional learning interventions to 16 students from a small alternative school in Anchorage, Alaska. Through a 90-day cycle, the School's Network Improvement Community (NIC) organized and executed an after-school SEL club after data on a district-wide survey indicated that social and emotional learning (SEL) was a necessary focus for the school context. The NIC utilized a self-assessment SEL screener, anecdotal observations, as well as parent, teacher, and student testimonies to justify the outcomes of this study. The researcher found that tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs) are a viable, effective, and fun way to help students develop their social and emotional skills. This result was evident based on the mySAEBRS survey results, which demonstrated an average increase of 6.6% across all participants. This data was justified further by the anecdotal observations made by a diverse pool of stakeholders. Based on these results, the NIC was able to expand the SEL/TTRPG intervention to their entire school community and would like to encourage other school contexts to do so as well.

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