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Examining the impact of professional learning communities

Claude Goldenberg has won Learning Forward’s Best Research Award for his studies examining the impact of professional learning communities on student achievement and teacher instruction.

Prof. Claude Goldenberg
Prof. Claude Goldenberg

Goldenberg received the award in December at Learning Forward's  Annual Conference in Atlanta with co-authors Bradley A. Ermeling, Ronald Gallimore, and William M. Saunders. They were honored for their recent studies, “Increasing Achievement by Focusing Grade-Level Teams on Improving Classroom Learning" and "Moving the Learning of Teaching Closer to Practice."

The researchers studied 15 Title 1 schools to examine the impact of professional learning communities on student achievement and teacher instruction. They found significant gains in student achievement and improved teacher instruction after nine schools converted routine meetings into professional learning teams guided by an explicit protocol that encouraged initiative.

The team combined these findings with data collected from 20 districts and 200-plus schools to identify five keys to creating effective learning teams. They included job-alike teams of teachers, protocols that guide the team's improvement efforts, trained peer facilitators, stable settings dedicated to improving instruction and learning, and perseverance for progress on student performance indicators.

Both studies are available for free on Stanford School of Education’s Open Archive at http://openarchive.stanford.edu/.