Professional Learning Community Assessment-Revised (PLCA-R)

The Professional Learning Community Assessment-Revised (PLCA-R) (2010) is a 52-item assessment created to measure everyday classroom and school practices in relation to the five PLC dimensions (Olivier, Hipp, & Huffman, 2003). Respondents rate these items along a five-point scale.

The assessment has been administered to professional staff in numerous school districts at varying grade levels throughout the United States and has assisted educators to determine the strength of practices in their own schools within each dimension. The assessment tool has also been translated into the following languages: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Dutch, Farsi (Persian), Greek, Malay, Romanian, Spanish, and Turkish.

Doctoral students, university faculty, and other researchers have used the assessment in their national and international projects to determine the strength of dimensions in schools that seek to implement the professional learning community framework.

Sample items from the survey  give the potential user a sense of items in the PLCA-R.

PLCA-R Validity and Reliability

The widespread use of the PLCA-R provides an opportunity to review the dimensions for internal consistency. Our most recent analyses of this diagnostic tool has confirmed internal consistency resulting in the following Cronbach Alpha reliability coefficients for factored subscales (n=1209):

    • Shared and Supportive Leadership (.94);
    • Shared Values and Vision (.92);
    • Collective Learning and Application (.91);
    • Shared Personal Practice (.87);
    • Supportive Conditions-Relationships (.82);
    • Supportive Conditions-Structures (.88); and
  • A one-factor solution (.97).

This assessment tool has also gone through construct validity (Expert Study and factor analysis), and has yielded satisfactory internal consistency for reliability.

How to Use the Results

When analyzing PLCA-R results, descriptive statistics are beneficial in determining the strength of the dimensions, as well as in reviewing responses for each individual item.

Given that PLCA-R items illustrate actual school-level practices, analysis of the measure should incorporate a review of individual items to determine the strengths and weaknesses of practices deemed essential within a PLC. From this analysis, the school leaders can determine next steps.

 PLCA-R Interpretation Steps

  • View attributes (item statements) first individually – determine the highest and lowest scores;
  • Next, focus on the Dimension sections; determine those dimensions which have a majority of high or low scoring attributes;
  • Focus on the overall results at the Dimension levels to determine if there is a pattern of high or low scores;
  • Scores of 3.0 or higher show general agreement with the attribute;
  • Refer to the calculated Standard Deviation (SD) in order to account for the outliers (variance within the group);
  • A smaller SD indicates greater agreement, while 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.
  • Use these scores to determine next steps for school leaders as they develop their schools as PLCs.

Next Steps

Using the PLCA-R requires permission from PLC Associates. The following steps guide users in selecting the PLCA-R version (hard copy or online), obtaining permission, and accessing the PLCA-R.

  1. Select the appropriate PLCA-R version. PLC Associates has developed three versions of the PLCA-R: an online version, an alternate online version using a different platform, and a paper and pencil version.

Online administration provides data analyses of the PLC five dimensions related to whole school, teams, departments, and individuals related to PLC practices. The online version offers a host server for online administration, data analyses, customized demographics, and open-ended questions. Data are automatically graphed, and a mean and standard deviation are calculated for each dimension for the group, individual, or subgroup report being viewed.

You can watch a walkthrough video and view some screenshots of the different parts of the PLCA-R admin site at:

In addition, sample items of the PLCA-R can be found at

The cost for online administration is $2.00/survey respondent.

Paper and pencil version allows the user to administer a PDF version of the survey using hard copies or by placing it into an alternate online platform. However, unlike the online version provided by PLC Associates (described above), an alternate online platform will require users to tabulate and analyze their own results. The cost for using this alternate version varies according to the number of schools surveyed: One school-$50; two or more schools-$100.

2. Complete the Request Form.

3. Submit the PLCA-R Request Form to [email protected]

Students should contact Dr. Dianne F. Olivier at [email protected] for permission to use the PLCA-R in translated versions or for correlation with other surveys. Students requiring correlation of the PLCA-R  with other surveys may pay the $50.00 flat fee.


 While the PLCA-R assessment offers information as to perceptions of teachers and administrators regarding the PLC structure in schools, informal tools help to clarify a direction for moving from statistical analyses to meaningful actions. Selection of informal tools provide strategies to support and enhance the development of a school PLC and thus contribute to continuous school improvement. To learn more about informal tools, refer to PLC Informal Diagnostic and Planning Tools.