The ACER Professional Learning Community Framework and Questionnaire

The Professional Learning Community Framework

The ACER Professional Learning Community Framework (PLCF) describes in detail the characteristics of a strong professional learning community. It is a synthesis of research into the characteristics of school organisation and leadership that promote a strong professional culture. These characteristics are categorised into five domains.

  • Domain 1: A professional culture
  • Domain 2: Leadership
  • Domain 3: Student engagement, learning and wellbeing
  • Domain 4: Improvement of professional knowledge and practice
  • Domain 5: Performance and development

Each domain is described in terms of key elements, indicators and contains a rubric.

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The Professional Learning Community Questionnaire

School leaders use the ACER Professional Learning Community Questionnaire (PLCQ) in conjunction with the PLCF to gauge the strength of their schools as professional learning communities and to identify aspects that may need to be strengthened. 

Together, the PLCF and the PLCQ provide schools with a useful tool that complements ACER’s National School Improvement Tool.

Quick facts

  • The PLCQ is a confidential online survey for all teaching staff to complete.
  • The most useful and comprehensive results require a staff completion rate of 80–90 per cent .
  • The PLCQ contains 80 items and takes about 20 minutes to complete.
  • Results are collated and a Professional Learning Community report is supplied to your school within 2 weeks.
  • Report also contains supporting commentary that identifies aspects that may need to be strengthened.
  • The basic cost for a report is $1950.

How can the PLCF help my school?

Take a snapshot of your school

Understand where your school stands in relation to the characteristics of a professional community.

Measure your school’s improvement over time

School leaders use the PLCQ at least twice to measure the extent to which their schools are strengthened from one year to the next. Aspiring or accomplished principals are able to demonstrate the impact of their leadership over time for purposes such as professional certification.

Compare sub-groups within your school

PLCQ reports can be customised (at additional cost) to reflect your school’s information needs. Findings can be broken down for sub-groups, such as junior, middle and senior schools.

Measure the impact of improvement initiatives by school systems

The report provides school systems with an effective means of measuring the impact  of system-level programs designed to measure improvement over time. It also provides employing authorities with evidence for promoting, recognising or accrediting schools as strong professional learning communities.

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The report was very well-received . . . Overall, we were quite pleased with the results. They both affirmed our perspectives on a lot of the areas we’ve been focussing on as a school as well as providing some really useful feedback on ‘where to next’.

Bernadette Hawker, Goondiwindi State High School

The report was definitely satisfactory and was well received.  We spent an entire day working through it alongside our Strategic Directions document.

Barry Walsh, St Dominic’s College