The first year impact of a professional learning community on low achieving 7th and 8th grade students
The purpose of this study was to measure the impact on low achieving learners within the first year implementation of a professional learning community in a large suburban middle school located in the Midwest. Interventions through collaborative efforts were devised for low achieving learners and implemented. Grade trends for students earning below average and failing grades in all subject areas in the 7th and 8th grade were examined from each quarter of the previous four years and compared to grades from 833 students through the end of the second quarter after implementing intervention strategies during the 2005-2006 school year. Surveys were completed from 38 staff and 350 students. Preliminary analyses of student and staff survey data were examined for violation of normality. Both data sets violated assumptions of normality using Shapiro Wilks statistics (all ps<.001). Reliability for student surveys were calculated for internal consistency values and yielded an adequately reliable value of .71. Staff surveys were also examined and yielded an internal consistency value of .92. Student surveys separated composite variables correlating questions relating positive school climate as well as positive attitudes towards interventions during the implementation process of the professional learning community. Staff surveys exposed two composite variables reflecting positive responses in the area of personal teaching reflection and classroom management as well as school climate during the same period. Data examined from student grade data showed a statistically significant decline in the percentages of failing grades (F’s) and no significant decrease in D’s for both 7th and 8th grade students using a Welch t-test when comparing the year with professional learning community interventions with the previous four years. Establishing a professional learning community was found to improve success for low achieving learners within the first semester of implementation.
Thesis (M.Ed.)--Wichita State University, College of Education, Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction
Includes bibliographic references (leaves 27-30)