Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Professional learning communities (PLCs) have become popular in schools to help improve student achievement. One local middle school implemented a PLC community, yet experienced problems with sustaining the concept and moving forward. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the current state of the PLC at the middle school under study, how it functioned, and possible areas for improvement. The theoretical framework revolved around constructivist learning and the dimensions of a quality PLC: collaboration, shared mission, values, vision, and goals. Research questions addressed teachers' perceptions of PLC progress and differences in levels of development scores among the 5 dimensions of the PLC implementation. The School Professional Staff as a Learning Community survey was given to the 54 members of the faculty at the school. The survey measured the dimensions of shared power/decision making, shared vision, collective learning, supportive and shared practice in teaching, and support of teachers and school. Data were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA. According to study results, there were significant differences among the dimensions, with shared vision scoring in the consistent range (M = 4.05) and supportive and shared practices in the never range (M = 2.32). Recommendations include strengthening the dimension of shared practice at the local site by supporting frequent observations of other teachers' classrooms with structured opportunities to provide feedback. Improving the functioning of the PLC will assist in sustaining the school learning community and ultimately improve student achievement.