Evidence of Effectiveness
Professional learning communities (PLCs) are a teacher collaboration and professional development strategy that is widely used in public schools in the United States and beyond. PLCs have the potential to improve instruction and student learning through structured, ongoing, job-embedded staff collaboration. However, many schools find it challenging to implement the features of PLCs effectively. The Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) invested in three years of intensive supports for schools to build high-functioning PLCs using Solution Tree’s Professional Learning Communities at Work® (PLC at Work®) model.
The findings in the research developed by Education Northwest are relevant for schools considering or actively using PLCs to improve collaboration, teaching, and learning. For more information on the independent evaluation of PLC at Work in Arkansas, please contact: Kathryn Torres, Ph.D., Principal Investigator at [email protected] or Jennifer Esswein, Ph.D. at [email protected].
Education Northwest’s 65-page study evaluates the effectiveness of Solution Tree’s supports on student English language arts (ELA) and math achievement tests in Arkansas.
After only two years, the PLC at Work process in Arkansas had a positive impact on math student achievement for specific student groups. ELA and math achievement gains for all student groups were either significantly higher than or about the same as their peers in non-PLC at Work schools.
This four-page executive summary outlines the impact of PLC at Work on the first cohort of project schools after two years of engagement.
An outside evaluation conducted by Education Northwest revealed several important findings after only two years of implementation.
In 2017, the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education partnered with Solution Tree to expand the use of Professional Learning Communities at Work® (PLC at Work®), a school transformation process that engages educators in collaborative cycles of inquiry. After three years, Arkansas’ investment shows positive results for the first cohort of participating schools.