A Comparative Study of the Self-Perceived Effect on Teacher Efficacy of Participation in a Structured or Non-Structured Professional Learning Community

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Fall 2014


Research has shown that participation in professional learning communities has increased student achievement (DuFour et al.,2008; Lomos, Hofman, & Bosker, 2011; Williams, 2013). This effect on student learning has caused some districts to implement the structured PLC collaboration model which is defined by DuFour as "educators committed to working collaboratively" using "processes of collective inquiry and action research" to focus on student achievement (DuFour et al., 2008, p. 14). District administrators are hoping this structured, collaborative environment will also increase teacher efficacy (Klassen & Anderson, 2009; Lovett & Cameron, 2011; Thessin & Starr, 2011). The purpose of this study was to determine if elementary teachers who participated in a structured professional learning community (PLC) following DuFours' 12 specific structures have higher teacher efficacy in the constructs of student engagement, instructional strategies, and classroom management than teachers participating in a non-structured PLC. This study focused on these constructs because they have a high correlation to effective teaching (DuFour et al., 2008; DuFour & Marzano, 2011; Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 2001). The researcher analyzed six elementary schools, with three implementing a structured PLC following DuFours' 12 specific structures and three campuses participating in a non-structured PLC, which allows teachers to design and implement their own form of collaboration based on their individual needs (DuFour et al., 2008; Yetter, Gutkin, Saunders, Galloway, Sobansky, & Song, 2006). A quantitative, survey method design was used to conduct this study. Using the Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk-Hoy, 2001), the study found a significant difference with the student achievement construct concerning teacher efficacy which was higher for participants utilizing the non-structured PLC. This study did not show a significant difference in the constructs of instructional strategies and classroom management between the structured and non-structured PLC groups.


Julia Ballenger

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Leadership