Date of Award

Fall 8-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Ruth Shafer

Second Advisor

Dr. Cindy Vitale

Third Advisor

Dr. Mary Piper

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine if implementing a specific collaborative structure would create effective teacher teams that in turn would lead to improved student achievement. An effective team can be viewed as one that uses collaboration to increase its knowledge and improve its practices. The structure that was implemented during this study was the Data Team Process. This process was implemented during the 2007-2008 school year in the Hazelwood School District in St. Louis, Missouri. Three measurement tools were used: the Five Dysfunctions of a Team Survey to assess grade level teacher collaboration, the Hazelwood School District Data Team Self-Reflection Scoring Guide to assess implementation of the Data Team Process, and Tungsten Benchmarks to assess student achievement. This study compared fourth and fifth grade students who attended three elementary schools during the 2006-2007 school year one year prior to Data Teams to fourth and fifth grade students who attended the same three elementary schools during the 2007-2008 school year, one year after implementation. Data were collected from participating teachers regarding their perceptions of collaboration and implementation of the Data Team Process. Results indicated that the Data Team Process did not have a positive impact on developing effective teams and improving student achievement. The mean student achievement scores for the year of implementation were relatively the same as the year prior to use of the Data Team Process. The teachers’ perception of effectiveness did not have a statistical variance; but, overall teachers considered themselves to be effective team members. All teams rated themselves high in fidelity to the process. Implementation of new programs and strategies often results in initial decline or little change in performance. Recommendations for future research and practice are to continue the Data Team Process and extend the length of the study over several years to track individual student achievement. Professional development on the Data Team Process is recommended to be continued for both teachers and administrators with opportunities provided for teacher participation in various types of collaborative teams. With implementation of the suggested recommendations and adequate time, student achievement and effective collaboration should improve.

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