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STEM Teachers in Professional Learning Communities: A Knowledge Synthesis


"This report describes a comprehensive knowledge synthesis of professional learning communities (PLCs) and their impact on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning in K12 education. It is supported by NSF grant DRL 0822013, awarded in August, 2008 to the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF) and WestEd.

Three overarching questions guide this secondary analysis: What do we know about PLCs involving STEM teachers? How robust is the research base about PLCs involving STEM teachers? What further research and development are needed? The study's analysis focuses on various configurations of STEM teachers in PLCs, the purposes of these PLCs, approaches to conducting PLCs, including online venues, and internal and substantive expertise made available to PLCs. The study's guiding questions examine the current knowledge about the relationship of these and other PLC attributes to effects on the following: teachers' content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), implemented instructional practices, their students' achievement, and teachers' job satisfaction and retention."