Dissertation

The role of leadership in developing and sustaining collective efficacy in a professional learning community

This mix methods study focused on the development and potential long-term sustainability of collective efficacy and the role leadership played in a collaborative professional learning community (PLC) environment. In schools across the United States, program improvement initiatives have been implemented to help close the achievement gap to meet the proficiency requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001. Research suggests that teachers are more likely to meet the achievement gap demands if they: (a) work in collaboration with other teachers, (b) are supported and encouraged to look at student work and other achievement data together, (c) design and co-teach lessons and review their effects, and, (d) plan appropriate interventions collectively. One reform method that supports collaborative teacher work and has empirically shown potential in a number of studies in improving student achievement is professional learning communities (PLCs ). This study investigated the role of leadership in developing and sustaining collective efficacy in a specific PLC reform model designed by DuFour and Eaker (1998). The study's quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, multiple regression analysis, bivariate correlation tests, ANOV A tests, and structural equation modeling (SEM) testing. Qualitative data were analyzed to support and triangulate the quantitative findings. The results indicated that there were no statistical differences between groups when analyzing study participant demographic data. The variables ofPLCs, collective efficacy, and transformational leadership were positively correlated using bivariate correlations testing. It was also determined that the PLC sub-construct of "collective goals" had a stronger predictive influence on the collective efficacy and transformational leadership constructs compared to the PLC subconstructs of"collective actions" and "focus on results." In the SEM model, "collective goals" again presented as the strongest predictive influence on the collective efficacy subconstructs of"task analysis" and "group competence." Structural equation modeling also determined that the transformational leadership sub-construct of "transforming the organization" had the strongest predictive influence on total PLC and total collective efficacy.

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