Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Studies

First Advisor

William Bosher

Second Advisor

Lisa Abrams

Third Advisor

W. Kenneth Magill

Fourth Advisor

Susan Polich


Abstract THE IMPACT OF ENABLING SCHOOL STRUCTURES ON THE DEGREE OF INTERNAL SCHOOL CHANGE AS MEASURED BY THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES By Joseph D. Tylus, Ph.D. A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Virginia Commonwealth University. Virginia Commonwealth University, 2009 Major Director: Dr. William C. Bosher Distinguished Professor, G. Wilder School of Policy Adjunct Professor, VCU School of Education This non-experimental, correlational study looked at the relationship between bureaucratic structures in middle and high schools in bringing about change in individual teacher classroom instructional practices through the centralized directive of membership in a professional learning community. Using a continuum of bureaucratic structure, from enabling to hindering, designed by Hoy and Sweetland (2001), each teacher identified the type of bureaucratic structure they believed they operated within. The teacher participants responded to a questionnaire on how involved they were and to what degree they participated with colleagues in a professional learning community during the current school year. Further, they were asked how membership in a professional learning community influenced, if at all, their instructional practices. A regression analysis showed a statistically significant relationship between enabling bureaucratic structure and a higher degree of teacher personal professional growth. A regression analysis also demonstrated a statistically significant relationship between enabling bureaucratic structure and change in instructional practices in the classroom associated with membership in a professional learning community. However, while the analyses found statistical significance, the actual effect size was low, challenging the level of practical significance of the model. One interaction of interest related to teachers who teach courses where there is a state mandated end-of-course test that impacts the school’s adequate yearly progress (AYP) rating. Teachers in this group reported the highest level of change in their classroom instructional practices through membership in a professional learning community when they perceived a more enabling bureaucratic structure for the school in which they worked. Hopefully these results will help encourage future work that pertains to which bureaucratic structures are most effective in producing change in the classroom through the use of professional learning communities. The dissertation was created using Microsoft Word 2003.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

July 2009

Included in

Education Commons