This paper analyses the current Australian policy and research context in relation to developing quality teachers. Like other countries, many educational authorities in Australia are developing professional standards for teachers and the evaluation of teachers against those standards as a mechanism for ensuring and extending the quality of teaching in schools. A key policy consideration involves the use of professional standards as tools for extending professional learning and/or for credentialing and appraisal. This paper considers these uses of standards by drawing on an evaluation of Education Queensland's Professional Standards for Teachers pilot. The pilot focused on using a set of standards as a framework for professional learning. Teachers' perspectives on the standards and their intended use, their engagement with the standards during the pilot and the nature of professional learning associated with that engagement are discussed in light of current policy debates about professional standards.