Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Katherine W. Propst


Small rural schools often struggle to facilitate true professional learning communities (PLCs) when there is one teacher per grade level in the building. The district selected for this study contained four elementary schools with one teacher per grade level and a combined middle and high school to collect perception data. Utilizing a concurrent triangulation design method, this dissertation set out to answer three research questions by analyzing the perceptions of PLCs from the lens of teachers and administrators. The research questions focused on collective efficacy impacts, student achievement impacts, and the COVID-19 pandemic impacts on PLC operations. These impacts were examined through a theoretical lens utilizing Bandura’s (1997) social cognition, or social learning, theory. The Professional Learning Communities Assessment–Revised (Olivier et al., 2010) was the quantitative instrument utilized as well as additional survey items to collect the qualitative data. Results showed positive impacts on collective efficacy; however, improvement areas were noted in the aspect of student achievement. Likewise, COVID-19 presented lessons learned and opportunities for change given another natural event. Recommendations were gathered and presented in the findings to assist the rural school district with strengthening policies and procedures to improve PLCs.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License