Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Rosalba Corrado DelVecchio

Second Advisor

Barbara Cozza

Third Advisor

Stephen Kotok


The purpose of this research study was to examine the impact of teacher collaboration in an early college high school (ECHS) and a traditional high school as it relates to student

achievement among high school students and on other factors that distinguish an ECHS

from a traditional high school. The ECHS refers to a specific high school model created

to serve traditionally underrepresented students in higher education. Students enroll in

dual credit courses, most often beginning sophomore year. A traditional high school

setting refers to courses that offer students the high school credits and prepare them for

the basic state assessments that all students must acquire for New York State graduation.

Much of the research suggests that a traditional high school prepares only some students

for post-secondary education, as opposed to an ECHS, which prepares all students for

post-secondary education. High schools designed to prepare all students for college

success look dramatically different from those that prepare only a portion of students.

These high schools have certain key characteristics. The most important and perhaps the

most often overlooked is an intellectually coherent program of study based on a

curriculum that grows progressively more challenging over the years (Harris et al,, 2010).

This is a concurrent exploratory mixed methods design. This study combined

elements of quantitative and qualitative methods. For the qualitative part of this study,

triangulation of data included, but was not limited to, interviews and observations. The

participants in this study consisted of 140 teachers and support staff (i.e., guidance

counselors, school psychologist, social workers, and community mental health providers)

with years of school experience ranging from new (1 to 5 years) to veteran (over 15

years), serving in a large urban school district during the 2018–2019 school year. For the

quantitative part of this study, data examined from the two high schools included, among

other sources, the New York State Algebra I test results of nearly 687 students. Teacher

survey data was collected using Olivier and Hipp’s (2010) Professional Learning

Community Assessment–Revised (PLCA–R) survey instrument, which deconstructs

professional learning communities (PLCs) into the same six elements that are the pillars

of an ECHS. These two forms of data were used to answer each of the questions that are

guiding this study.

An analysis of variance (one-way ANOVA) was used to determine a difference, if

any, between an ECHS and a traditional high school in both PLCA–R and New York

State assessment data. If that is the case, a hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) was used

to determine whether any of these differences could be attributed to any of the six

PLCA–R elements.