Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
While much is known about the benefits of professional learning communities as supportive structures for teaching teams to work together to increase student learning opportunities, team development requires strong administrators and teacher leaders. The purpose of this study was to explore teacher leaders' perceptions of the strengths and weaknesses of professional learning communities in the middle school setting. With a foundation in constructivist and organizational learning theories, differences in teacher leaders' perceptions were investigated based on gender, number of years teaching at the schools, and number of years on the school leadership team. Within a nonexperimental, quantitative research design, 380 participants were invited and 127 responded to the Professional Learning Communities Assessment-Revised (PLCA-R) survey. A t test for independent samples was used to examine gender differences, and one-way ANOVAs were used to analyze differences in perceptions based on number of years teaching and number of years on the school leadership team. The results revealed no statistically significant differences for any of the variables on any of the PLCA-R domains, but there was a statistically significant difference (p = .013) in the PLCA-R overall scores for years of teaching experience. The information from these overall scores reflects a strong relationship between the number of years teaching, either 6-10 or 11+, and the domains in the survey. Results of this study add to the research on middle school professional learning communities and may contribute to positive social change by providing information on the perceived strengths and weaknesses that exist in professional learning communities.