The influence of professional learning communities on teacher efficacy and advanced placement practices
Lawrence, Kenneth Stefan
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As the general public demands more accountability on behalf of schools, educators struggle to meet rising minimum standards. In an effort to address these expectations and search for ways to improve, educators consider applying a professional learning community (PLC) practice, which centers on the improvement of teaching and learning. While traits of professional learning communities are documented in the literature, little is known about how the model affects both teacher efficacy and the classroom practices of Advanced Placement (AP) teachers. The purpose of this study is to determine the influence a PLC has on the efficacy of the teachers participating, as well as the AP English exam scores of those teachers’ students. Action research will drive this project in an attempt to answer the following research questions: 1. How is teacher self efficacy influenced by participation in a PLC? 2. In what ways do teachers engage in the process of collective learning through a PLC? 3. How does participation in a PLC affect teacher practices in AP classrooms? The researcher employed a mixed methods approach. A survey instrument and student exam scores were used to gather quantitative data. Qualitative data in this study consists of pre and post interviews with participants and researcher observation notes.