Professional Learning Communities Assessment-Revised: Interpreting Results

How to Use the PLCA-R Results

The Professional Learning Community Assessment-Revised (PLCA-R) is intended to support and enhance the development of the PLC process in a school and, thereby, contribute to continuous school improvement. To analyze the instrument’s results, examine the descriptive statistics to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the PLC dimensions in your school. Because the PLCA-R attributes (item statements) illustrate actual school-level practices, you should examine not only the overall results for each dimension but also the results for each item to determine the strengths and weaknesses of specific practices essential to a PLC. Although looking at the dimensions collectively can be revealing on the surface, examining individual attributes provides a clearer and more formative assessment of your school’s practices.

PLCA-R Interpretation Steps

  1. Examine the individual attributes (item statements); determine the highest and lowest scores. Scores of 3.0 or higher show general agreement with the attribute.
  2. Focus on the dimension sections; determine those dimensions that have a majority of high- or low-scoring attributes.
  3. Focus on the overall results at the dimension level to determine if there is a pattern of high or low scores.
  4. Refer to the calculated standard deviation (SD) to account for outliers (variance within the group). A smaller SD indicates greater agreement; a larger SD shows more variance among respondents (less agreement). You may have an outlier or two but still have an overall strong level of support for the dimension.

Next Steps

  1. Utilize the Professional Learning Community Developmental Rubric (PLCDR) and the Professional Learning Community-Innovation Configuration Map (PLC-ICM) to clarify understanding of the dimensions and critical attributes. These tools use individual or small group dialogue to reflect on the progression of school-level practices related to PLCs.
  2. Formulate a PLC Initial School Plan.
  3. Implement the Initial School Plan.
  4. Assess again after several months.

Background information of the PLCA-R and copyright ownership:
Background information about the development and administration of the PLCA-R is available in chapter 4, “Assessing and Analyzing Schools as Professional Learning Communities” by Dianne F. Olivier and Kristine Kiefer Hipp, in the Rowman & Littlefield Education book Demystifying Professional Learning Communities: School Leadership at Its Best, ©2010. You can buy a copy of this book from the publisher, Rowman & Littlefield Education or from

You can contact the editors and copyright holders of the book and the PLCA-R, by e-mail: Kristine Kiefer Hipp at and Jane Bumpers Huffman at For information about the PLCA-R, you can contact Dianne F. Olivier at Through an agreement with the editors, SEDL is providing access to the online version of the PLCA-R.