Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
An educational problem facing high schools in 2 Midwestern school districts is that few local contextual experiences exist for developing professional learning communities that contain research-based characteristics. Identifying such experiences is important to school leaders and teachers. The purpose of this study was to examine 2 local high school professional learning communities to identify research-based characteristics such as practice-based discussions and a focus on learning and results. Constructivism and social change theory provided the theoretical foundation. A single research question sought the presence of research-based characteristics. The characteristics formed the conceptual framework and emerged from many voices in the field. Qualitative case study research methods guided the study; each high school served as a case. Interviews with 10 educators, observations of 4 team meetings, and examination of artifacts from the sites were conducted to collect data. Data analysis included coding information from interviews, meetings, and artifacts; developing individual case narratives; and constructing a cross-case analysis. A key finding was that all research-based characteristics were present in each school. One conclusion reached was that strong administrative leadership contributed positively to the presence of characteristics. Another was that operating from a learning model (e.g., AIW [Authentic Intellectual Work] or DuFour) contributed positively as well. Several recommendations are included and focus on following a model under strong administrative leadership. Given the findings, positive implications for social change include more effective teaching, more authentic collaboration in schools, and a culture of teacher excellence.
Lindahl, Rebecca, "Research-Based Characteristics of Professional Learning Communities at the High School Level" (2011). Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies. 859.
Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration Commons, Secondary Education and Teaching Commons