Master's Theses


Advanced Education Programs

Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S)


Educators continue to be challenged with improving the nation's schools. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 created an elusive moving target towards perfection as the ultimate goal. This was a mandate for every school receiving federal funds to close the achievement gap. Recently, states have been applying for waivers to help them move out of the NCLB rut of narrowly focused and unattainable goals. The pressure of school improvement and its challenges, with limited funding, continue for schools to supply efficient and effective professional development that will benefit student learning. The Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, wrote in an article for Learning Forward our nation's schools spend a lot of money on professional development but receive little in return" (Duncan, 2011, p. 70, 71). Schools must continue to look for inexpensive yet effective ways for teachers to become better. For the past few years, professional learning communities have been one of the most efficient and effective forms of professional development because they utilize the expertise of staff within the schools they serve. This approach has enhanced the capacity for learning by establishing collaborative teams of teachers who work together, use best practices, and focus on student learning. This project looks at the effectiveness of professional learning communities in enhancing capacity for student learning, particularly in four southwest Kansas high schools. The project looks at both qualitative and quantitative data.


Dr. Robert Moody

Date of Award

Fall 2013

Document Type



© The Author(s)


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