A critical analysis of job-embedded professional learning within a distributed leadership framework
Leadership style and professional learning have been linked to student achievement. Studies have linked leadership styles such as distributed leadership to job-embedded professional learning. However, research is mixed when these two constructs are related to student achievement. This study evaluated the relationship between distributed leadership and jobembedded professional learning. This study also evaluated relationships among jobembedded professional learning, distributed leadership, and third-grade achievement scores. The study involved third grade mathematics teachers and school administrators in 46 elementary schools in the state of Georgia. Pearson's bivariate correlation test was used to explore the relationship between job-embedded professional learning and distributed leadership. A hierarchical multiple regression was used to examine the relationships among job-embedded professional learning, distributed leadership and achievement while controlling for ability level and socioeconomic status. To further examine the relationships between the constructs, qualitative analyses were conducted. Six teachers and administrators were interviewed. Although variations of the constructs were being implemented, participants had limited knowledge of the meaning of the constructs; their analysis of effectiveness was based on perception rather than data. The finding in extant research that job-embedded professional learning is more effective within a distributed leadership framework was supported by this study. Additionally, responses of interviewed school personnel revealed a relationship between these constructs. However, an inverse relationship was found between schools these constructs in schools with low socio-economic status and low levels of distributed leadership. On the other hand, the study did not reveal relationships among distributed leadership, job-embedded professional learning and student achievement.