About Professional Learning Communities


Professional learning communities strive to answer four basic questions:

  1. What is it we want our students to learn?
  2. How will we know if each student has learned it?
  3. How will we respond when some students do not learn it?
  4. How can we enrich or expand learning for students who have shown proficiency?

In order to effectively work as a team PLC members decide on norms or acceptable group habits and behaviors.

Next, the group must set SMART goals for student learning. SMART is an acronym for goals that are: strategic & specific, measurable, attainable, results oriented and time-bound.

PLCs should formulate these goals by looking at data. The data can come from standardized tests, utilizing the report tools on the service Study Island and by analyzing the results of common formative assessments.

The definition of Common Formative Assessment - "An assessment typically created collaboratively by a team of teachers responsible for the same grade level or course. Common formative assessments are frequently administered throughout the year…"- Learning by Doing, p 214

Finally, teachers in the PLC regroup to assess the results of these common formative assessments. By looking at the test/quiz results the teachers can see which areas need to be reintroduced or retaught and which students need intervention.

Source: Learning by Doing - A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work by Richard DuFour, Rebecca DuFour, Robert Eaker, and Thomas Many

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