Author(s)

Donna Markiewicz

Date Approved

4-5-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership

Department

Educational Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Campbell, Robert

Subject(s)

Professional learning communities

Disciplines

Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between traditional professional development and the implementation of professional learning communities (PLCs) in one suburban middle school in New Jersey. A mixed-methods approach was used to gather data. Quantitative and qualitative results were gathered from surveys from teachers (N=59) that attended the in-house professional development workshops. Twenty interviews were also used to gather data on the teacher perspective. Most of the teachers appreciated the paradigm shift from traditional professional development to a more collaborative model. They appreciated the time to work in their professional learning communities to develop common goals and assessments, and discuss teaching and learning strategies. The test score results in language arts improved and the math score results decreased from 2009 to 2010 in the 6th to 7th grades, and when compared to schools in New Jersey of similar socio-economic status were also under the average for 7th grade in 2009 and 8th grade in 2010. The data also suggested that the language arts PLC worked more collaboratively and were more unified as a team than the math teachers.

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