Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Sydney Brown


This mixed-methods study addresses the perceived impact of working in Professional Learning Teams (PLTs) on teaching practices and student achievement in biology. The study replicates Roberts’s (2010) study. Success in biology is important to the nation because it aligns with national efforts to prepare students to compete in global markets. Educators use PLTs to support development of educators and address student educational needs. PLTs share basic functions. Basic functions were defined using DuFour’s (2004) three big ideas of PLCs: ensuring students learn at high levels, promoting a collaborative culture, and focusing on academic results. Biology teachers completed an anonymous online survey with Likert scale and open-ended questions. Results were analyzed using statistics and theme verification. Results were compared against student achievement measured by school Grade Level Proficiency (GLP) percentages on a summative state biology test. Results were compared to Roberts’s (2010) results and showed teachers’ strengths in knowing objectives and deciding on essential outcomes based on state and district standards. Findings show teachers believe work in PLTs has positive impacts on teaching practices. Some teachers believe negative impacts accompany the positive impacts. Most teachers feel skilled in ensuring students learn at high levels. Findings show PLTs in schools with high GLP percentages clarify norms. PLTs in schools with medium GLP percentages discuss evidence of student progress at each meeting. Implications for practice include meeting teacher professional learning needs to provide optimal learning to student subgroups. Recommendations include replicating the research study for all science courses and other districts.

Creative Commons License

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