Participating in PLCs: evaluate and diagnose

​Impact questions, indicators and key actions for school leaders, instructional leaders and teachers to use during the ‘evaluate and diagnose’ phase of the Framework for improving student outcomes (FISO) improvement cycle.

During this phase, professional learning communities (PLCs):

  • evaluate what students currently know and diagnose student learning needs using data and evidence
  • evaluate what teachers currently know about and practice in the areas of curriculum, assessment and pedagogy and diagnose the areas where teachers require further professional development
  • use the evaluations above to determine the student learning focus of their approximately eight week long inquiry cycle and how the PLC will use evidence-based strategies to address student learning needs.

Impact questions and indicators

What do students know?

PLCs are enabled when we:

  • use rigorous processes of evaluation
  • collect a range of student formative and summative assessment data at a school, cohort and individual level
  • equip teachers to analyse and interpret assessment data using agreed criteria of success
  • enable the voices of students in assessing their own learning.

What do we want student’s to learn?

PLCs are enabled when we:

  • surface assumptions and build a shared understanding about what and how students learn
  • evaluate using the Victorian Curriculum to determine learning outcomes
  • use student self-assessment and student feedback
  • identify areas for improvement in student learning.

What do we know and what do we want to learn?

PLCs are enabled when we:

  • reflect deeply on own practice and learning
  • challenge and stretch each other in our knowledge and understanding of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment
  • share and discuss emerging research and evidence
  • test the depth of our knowledge about our students.

What aspect of student learning will be the focus of our inquiry?

PLCs are enabled when we:

  • invest time to clearly specify the focus of  inquiry
  • analyse the contributing factors to the focus of inquiry and consider the next best learning moves to address them
  • seek alternative perspectives about the contributing factors
  • identify what is within our locus of control, such as teacher practice, school organisation or student perceptions of their learning.

Key actions

School leaders

  • establish a curriculum review process and subsequently review findings made by PLC teams to ensure consistency of all areas
  • analyse whole-school data sets to determine common problems of practice.

Instructional leaders

  • evaluate curriculum alignment with Victorian Curriculum standards and priorities, identifying areas for amendment and review
  • lead the PLC discussion of student data from a range of sources to understand what the students know. 


  • evaluate the efficacy of unit plans and lessons and share these findings at PLC meetings
  • gather individual student data and class data and share this in PLC meetings.    

Find out more

These resources and tools will help you to implement these rigorous practices in schools.