The Power of Professional Community: Examining the Relationship Between School Conditions and the Presence of Professional Learning Community
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This quantitative study examines the relationship between school conditions and the presence of professional learning community (PLC) in schools. The analysis addresses the research question: How do school conditions correlate with the presence of professional learning community in schools? A series of multiple linear regressions examine six school conditions and there relation to three measures of PLC designed specifically for this study: Working Together Toward Shared and Ambitious Learning Goals; Conversations Focused on Teaching and Learning; and Public Practice. A supplemental analysis included in the appendices addresses the research question: How does the presence of professional learning community in schools correlate with measures of student achievement? A logistic regression examines the relationship between three measures of PLC and student achievement. Data for this study is derived from over 1,200 schools participating in the Keys for Effective Schools (KEYS) survey, sponsored by the National Education Association. The study found a statistically significant relationship between several school conditions and each measure of PLC. Effectiveness and Supportiveness of School Leadership and Frequency and Focus of Professional Development were positively associated with all three PLC measures. Teacher Empowerment and School Level were positively associated to two of the three PLC measures. Findings are consistent with the limited empirical research on the conditions that foster or inhibit PLC (Bolam, et al., 2005; Hord, 2004; Louis, Marks, & Kruse, 1996; Louis & Marks, 1998; Newmann & Wehlage, 1995;Vescio, Ross, & Adams, 2008).