School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Carol Gillespie


Professional Learning Communities, Perception, School Level




The purpose of this study was to compare the influence of school level to schools’ perceptions of school leadership, instructional practice and support, and professional development, components of professional learning communities. Participants included traditional public schools serving students in kindergarten through twelfth grade in North Carolina. Instrumentation for the study included select questions from the North Carolina Teacher Working Conditions survey and the Active LEA (School District) School Report from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Designed as an ex-post facto causal comparative study, a two-sample t-test between percents was used to analyze the data. No significant differences in teacher perceptions in any of the studied components of professional learning communities when comparing elementary school to middle school, elementary school to high school, or middle school to high school. The researcher failed to reject all nine hypotheses for the study indicating that while the methods teachers use to meet the needs of the learners and the learners vary, the practices involving professional learning communities are perceived to be the same among North Carolina public school teachers. This study aims to add quantitative support to the existing literature for implementation of improving upon professional learning communities in schools. Recommendations for further study include widening study participants to include private schools, charter schools, and those that do not serve traditional students, examining locality as a factor, including results from prior survey administrations and survey administrations since 2016 to look for trend data, and using teacher demographics as a variable to examine teacher perceptions.

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