Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Casey Reason


Professional learning communities (PLC) have the potential to strengthen students' academic achievement. An academic pyramid of interventions, one aspect of PLCs, may be especially helpful in schools where subgroups of students are underperforming relative to other students on standardized testing. This quantitative, one-group, pretest-posttest study examined the impact of implementing an academic pyramid of interventions as part of a PLC on middle school student academic achievement. The 100 students from grade 7 and 8 who participated in the study were identified by teachers as being at-risk for success on the Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT). The reading and math test scores from the CRCT were extracted for data analysis. The researcher used a repeated-measures t test to compare the mean pretest and posttest scores. Bivariate correlations were conducted to determine the relationship between math and reading scores at grades 7 and 8. Results indicated that reading scores significantly increased across time (p < .001). Math scores also increased but the difference was not statistically significant. All correlations were significant (p<.05). Overall, the results indicated that implementing a PLC improved the standardized test scores of at risk students. These results have potential implications for social change in that all students will be better prepared for success throughout their academic career. These implications also suggest that when teachers work collaboratively within a PLC they will better meet the academic needs of all subgroups of students, especially those identified as at risk.