PLC activities included administration of an international test to selected classes, mapping of test content against the curriculum, analysis of learner errors, interviewing learners to gain further insight into the reasoning behind the errors, reflection on own practice and collaborative designing of lesson plans and strategies. Analysis of learner errors was the central focus of PLC activities. This focus helped teachers develop their pedagogical skills as well as providing opportunities for dealing with Mathematical Content Knowledge gaps as they emerged.

The DIPIP team provided external facilitators who guided teachers through the PLC learning activities. A further key intervention was the training of School-based Facilitators (SBFs), with the aim of equipping lead teachers with the skills and confidence to become future convenors of PLCs. Quarterly Network Learning Community (NLC) meetings were organised to serve as opportunities for PLCs from different schools to come together and learn from each other.

The achievements of the project include measurable improvement in teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and individual growth, and a model for Professional Learning Communities. Data suggests that the DIPIP project has been good at fostering a supportive community; teachers have respect for each other, there is a feeling of togetherness, there is support from School Management Teams (SMTs) and there is an openness to change. It is difficult to quantify growth in teachers’ subject knowledge (although teachers believe they have improved), and various recommendations have been made in this regard. The project illuminated factors which may support or hinder the establishment of effective PLCs. The SBF training will make an important contribution to the development of a replicable model of facilitator training for establishing PLCs more widely in the future.

Focus area

Teacher Development in Mathematics (Error Analysis and Professional Learning Communities)

Time frame

The evaluated period was from 2011 to 2013 (as part of a multi-phase project over a longer time span).


The number of schools and teachers participating varied over the life of the project. Year 3 figures are as follows:

  • 8 schools
  • 28 eight teachers
  • 6 PLCs.

Province/ Districts

Gauteng: Johannesburg West and Gauteng West

Stakeholders/ Partnerships

School of Education at the University of the Witwatersrand in partnership with the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE), GEDT, District Offices, schools, teachers.

Resources/ Materials

Human: The DIPIP team, including external facilitators

Technical: laptops and video recording equipment

Materials: manuals, schedules and instruments

Referencing Key to Report Extracts

This table provides a Referencing Key to report extracts quoted in the Key Learning Category section of the repository.


Report Title


Data-informed Practice Improvement Project: Phase 3 Evaluation. Final Workshop 2, Snap Survey 2 and Teacher Results Report. Version: 19 November 2013.


Data-informed Practice Improvement Project. Phase 3 Evaluation. Final Workshop 1 and Snap Survey 1 Report. Version: 10 September 2013.


Evaluation of the Data-informed Practice Improvement Project. Phase 3. Final Evaluation Report 5 (June 2012-October 2012), Version: 30 January 2013

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