Date of Award
Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership (Ed.D)
Dr. Julie Moore
First Committee Member
Dr. Lynn Stallings
Second Committee Member
Dr. Ann Bennett
The increased professional demands on educators without parallel increases in funding encourage schools to continually search for practical solutions to equip teachers with the knowledge and skills needed to improve their instructional effectiveness. This qualitative research study explored this issue by examining how participation in a data-focused professional learning community (PLC) affected teacher practice and perceptions along with determining how data-focused PLCs contributed to student learning outcomes. The study participants were a team of mathematics teachers from a public middle school in the southeastern United States serving grades sixth through eighth. The findings from this study were summarized through three themes that also provided responses to the research questions used to frame this study. The results affirmed that collaboration as a member of a PLC attributed to changes in teacher practice such as enhancements to participant instructional delivery and professional knowledge. In turn, improved teacher effectiveness also benefited students as evidenced by student performance on a variety of indicators. These findings contributed to the body of literature by other researchers (e.g., Little, 1982; McLaughlin & Talbert, 1993) who concluded that participation in a PLC with a defined collaborative structure provided teachers with job-embedded contexts to enhance their classroom practices. Likewise, due to the process of data-focused PLCs relying heavily on teachers learning through collaborative inquiry and using data to inform their decisions rather than assumptions, schools that embrace this structure provide an opportunity for high-quality instructional practices to be nurtured and sustained while supporting continuous growth in teaching and learning.
Townsend, Deena W., "Beyond a Meeting: A Case Study Examining the Impact of Data-Focused Professional Learning Communities on Teacher Practice and Student Learning" (2016). Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership Dissertations. 11.