Exploring the Impact of Special Education Professional Learning Communities on Students with Disabilities

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Overall, Christie
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Middle Tennessee State University
Across the nation, students with disabilities are struggling to close the achievement gap. Many schools have adopted the PLC framework and implemented special education PLCs in their schools in order to address this deficit. This study examined data from 13 elementary schools in a school district. The data was analyzed to determine if special education PLCs are making an impact on the achievement of students with disabilities. A survey was also used to examine the opinions of the special education teachers in the district on how they felt about their special education school team. This quantitative study first analyzed the data from two groups: schools that have special education PLCs and schools that do not. Then data from four groups was analyzed to determine if the frequency in which the special education PLCs met impacted achievement differently. A total of 270 student samples were taken from the school district for the data analysis. The results from these two tests determined no significant difference in progress between either of the groups. Lastly, a survey was analyzed to determine how special education teachers felt about their team. The results from survey indicated an overall positive view of their special education teams. Based on these findings it is recommended that the school district in the study take a closer look at their special education PLCs and consider making some changes in order to ensure student achievement. Further research is also recommended to determine if the impact of special education PLCs is different in other regions around the United States.
Special education, Education