Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Educational Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Lars Bjork

Abstract

Throughout the post-modern or post-professional age (2000-present), high stakes testing and accountability of public schools forced educational organizations to improve their professional practices to work collaboratively (Little, 2003). As a result, professional learning communities (PLCs) have been found to improve student learning among educational organizations (DuFour, 2007; Hord, 2004). During the past 20 years, a significant amount of research has been conducted, which describes PLCs in the educational settings (Vescio, Ross, & Adams, 2008) Researchers note a lack of empirical research which focuses on teacher and principal perceptions of PLCs (Hord & Sommers, 2008).

The central focus of this study is to better understand teacher and principal perceptions of the five dimensions of professional learning communities (PLCs) as identified by Hord through reporting data collected using the Professional Learning Community Assessment- Revised (PLCA-R). This study seeks to report teacher and principal perceptions of PLCs to identify specific practices that are most common in Kentucky schools.

Findings suggest teacher and principal perceptions differ regarding the five dimensions of PLCs as described by Hord. Findings also suggest that both teachers and principals agree that all five dimensions exist including: Shared and Supportive Leadership, Shared Values and Vision, Collective Learning and Application, Shared Personal Practice, Supportive Conditions – Relationships, and Supportive Conditions- Structures. However, principal perceptions reflect that PLC practices were more common than teachers reported.

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