Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Professional learning communities, teacher collaboration, and student achievement in an era of standards based reform
by Bunker, Vanessa J., Ed.D., Lewis and Clark College, 2008, 204; 3297571
Abstract (Summary)

Public schools in the United States operate in a milieu of standards based reform. Two broad models of reform can be described, including the scientific research based or positivist model, and the constructivist model, including professional learning communities and teacher collaboration. Professional learning communities have a variety of titles, definitions, and conceptualizations. A review of the literature provided clarification and further characterization of professional learning communities and teacher collaboration. Six specific components were identified: School Climate and Culture, Clear Goals, Attention to Results, Time and Structures, Deprivatization, and Reflective Dialogue.

The research on professional learning communities and teacher collaboration often fails to demonstrate a relationship between teacher collaboration and academic achievement. This study, conducted at a large, suburban elementary school, studied the relationships between teacher collaboration and student achievement, and factors teachers reported to facilitate and hinder both the collaborative process and student achievement.

Specifically, this study utilized Pearson and ANOVA analyses to determine correlations between teacher value, teacher skill and increased student achievement in reading, math, and writing. Results found teacher value of the collaborative process had no relationship to academic achievement or student growth in reading or math. Teacher skill in the collaborative process correlated significantly with student achievement in reading and math, and student growth in reading and math.

This study also investigated qualitative factors teachers described as facilitating or hindering both collaboration and student achievement. Factors identified by teachers were coded and categorized using grounded theory techniques. Teacher reports of factors were categorized and discussed.

The author of this study was immersed in a professional learning community to review the literature, design the study, and review results obtained at this study site. Personal experiences and insights about working in a structured model of collaboration are shared and discussed.

This study adds to the body of research by providing evidence of relationships between teacher skill in the collaborative process and increased student achievement in reading and math at one school. It also adds to the body of literature by identifying and discussing factors attributed by teachers to facilitate or hinder both the collaborative process and student achievement.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ruhl, Thomas
Commitee: Howser, Mike, Russell, Maryalice
School: Lewis and Clark College
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Oregon
Source: DAI-A 69/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: School administration, Teacher education
Keywords: Achievement, Collaboration, Professional learning communities, Standards-based reform, Teacher collaboration
Publication Number: 3297571
ISBN: 9780549474654
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