Date of Award


Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Ron Childress

Second Advisor

Michael Cunningham

Third Advisor

Eric Lassiter

Fourth Advisor

Brenda Tuckwiller


The purpose of this study was to investigate teachers’ perceptions of levels of implementation and levels of effectiveness in improving student learning of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in low-performing schools in West Virginia. This study also sought to determine differences in levels of implementation and effectiveness for five selected independent variables and examined the relationship between levels of implementation and levels of effectiveness. The study also sought to ascertain administrator and school improvement specialist perceptions of how PLCs affect their schools. Finally, this study described teachers’ suggestions to enhance their PLC experience and identified challenges that hindered the implementation of PLCs.

Data were developed via survey and semi-structured interviews. The study population consisted of 211 teachers and administrators. Respondents (N=98) were from three elementary schools and one K-8 school. Teachers reported PLC implementation levels as “some of the time” and “most of the time” and judged them to be “somewhat effective” and “effective” in improving student learning. Levels of implementation were not significantly different based on organizational structure of the school, or on the grade/developmental level, or sex of the participant. The correlation between levels of implementation and levels of effectiveness was significant and strong.

Logistical suggestions such as scheduling and PLC composition and additional training were the strategies most often suggested to enhance the PLC experience. The most frequently listed challenges to implementation of PLCs were time constraints, teacher accountability, and negative attitudes of teachers participating in PLCs.


Professional learning communities -- West Virginia.

Teaching teams.