The focus upon competency frameworks has risen largely from a political microeconomic agenda which has been adopted in the professions generally as well as in teaching. Teachers and teacher educators need to work together to ensure that this definition and use of competency standards facilitate and do not hinder teachers' professional development. This paper draws upon research into teacher development to provide a framework for examining, defining and applying professional standards. The benefits of a professional development framework are emphasised and issues to be addressed in further work on professional standards are to be identified. The complex interaction of the two agenda, professional development and professional standards, is acknowledged showing the need for all parties to work together in mapping the ground, relating professional standards to student contexts and outcomes, and establishing guidelines for use of professional standards in particular types of contexts.