Domestic projects & partnerships
Orbis – South Australian Partnership
The Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) has partnered with Orbis, a new professional learning academy recently launched in South Australia.
Orbis provides a comprehensive program of professional learning for South Australia’s public school and preschool educators to support them in developing their teaching expertise and educational leadership.
The Graduate School won the contract following an international tender process and will deliver three pilot courses focusing on literacy and numeracy, with 180 teachers taking part. The program is an excellent opportunity for MGSE to bring its knowledge of evidence-based strategies and contemporary teaching and leadership practices to schools across South Australia.
University of Melbourne Network of Schools
The Victorian Department of Education provided funding for ten rural and regional schools from across the state to become members of The University of Melbourne Network of Schools (UMNOS) in 2019. The school leadership teams began their three-year UMNOS action plans in March 2019. In collaboration with more than thirty schools, the teams built on their leadership skills while designing and implementing school improvement initiatives.
Working in small focus groups facilitated by University Critical Friends and UMNOS staff, the schools work on a range of projects, including: improving reading, writing and maths outcomes; designing validated measurement tools for teaching and assessing general capabilities and complex competencies; and implementing evidence-based self-regulated learning practices to support improved student agency. This UMNOS cohort will continue working with the University in 2020 and 2021.
Tasmanian Education Review
Dean Jim Watterston of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) was appointed Chair of the School Reference Group for the Contemporary School Leadership Roles project in Tasmania.
Commissioned by the Tasmanian Department of Education, the project is led by the MGSE and Price Waterhouse Coopers. The project aims to clarify the roles of Tasmanian school leaders in improving student learning. To do this, the project must delve into the functions of the school leadership teams to find ways to reduce barriers to leadership.
Maroondah and Department of Education Wellbeing Hub
The Department of Education and Training in Victoria commissioned the Centre for Positive Psychology to measure the wellbeing of staff, students and parents/carers to identify areas of strengths and needs so that programs and interventions can be designed to optimise wellbeing across the network of schools.
A total of 3,461 young people between the ages of 10 to 20 years old from 21 educational settings (16 primary schools and 5 secondary schools) participated in the Wellbeing Profiler student survey. More than 300 staff members and 655 parents/carers across 24 participating schools in the Maroondah Network completed the Wellbeing Profiler survey for staff and parents/carers.
Focus groups were conducted with a subset of students to obtain deeper insights into their wellbeing data and experiences. In partnership with Maroondah City Council Youth Services, Data Deep Dive sessions were conducted with school leaders and HOPE leaders to unpack each school’s wellbeing survey findings and gain a better understanding of each school’s context. Contextual Workshops were also held with school leaders, HOPE and wellbeing leaders, school staff, students and their parents to gather insights into broader systemic and contextual factors.
Secondary Literacy Teaching Toolkit
Experts in the Graduate School’s Language and Literacy Education cognate group developed the Primary Literacy Teaching Toolkit (LTT) for the Victorian Department of Education and Training. Since its completion in 2018, the LTT has been widely accessed with resources used by teachers and school leadership teams to promote excellence in literacy teaching and support professional learning.
Led by Associate Professor Larissa Maclean Davies, a team from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education is developing the Secondary Literacy Teaching Toolkit (LTT) for the Victorian Department of Education and Training.
The toolkit resources will help teachers and school leaders build a positive literacy culture in schools, provide online multi-modal resources that enable teachers to differentiate literacy learning within subject areas, and help students and teachers to improve literacy outcomes.
Maths Collaborative 2019
More than 30 Victorian schools took part in a two-year school improvement program for Primary Schools across the state. Developed by the Maths Association of Victoria and the Mathematics Education Group at Melbourne Graduate School of Education, the program includes five workshops per year, two days of in-school consultancy undertaken by Maths Association of Victoria per year, and two twilight professional learning and networking sessions for teachers.
Evaluation of Professional Practice Elements
In January 2019, the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) commissioned the Centre for Program Evaluation (CPE) to conduct an evaluation of the professional practice elements (PPE) in the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017 (VGSA 2017). The aim of the PPE is to improve teaching practice by assisting and supporting teachers to continue to develop and improve their professional practice.
The first year (2019) of the evaluation was developmental and feedback was used to inform the ongoing implementation of PPE. The second year (2020) is summative and involves investigating the impact of the PPE on teachers, school communities and students.
Launch of the Early Childhood Research Hub
Through the generosity of the Leaper Foundation the Research in Effective Education in Early Childhood (REEaCh) Research Hub was established and launched in 2019. The aim of REEaCh is to be a ‘guiding light in Early Childhood Education’ through robust research into major issues, seminars, collaboration with other institutions’ and a place where people come to learn about what can be achieved in the early years – from the moment of birth. R
Evaluation of Department of Education Literacy and Numeracy Strategies
In January 2019, the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) contracted the Centre for Program Evaluation (CPE) at the University of Melbourne to conduct an evaluation of the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy.
The Strategy was released with the aim to empower and support schools to identify and implement strategies to improve the teaching and learning of literacy and numeracy based on the school’s circumstances and need, as identified in their Annual Implementation Plan.
The first year of the evaluation found that the Strategy is currently meeting school and school staff needs in relation to Literacy and that it is capable of being adapted to fit context. School staff are aware of and participating in the Strategy and there are indications of saturation of key tools and resources in schools (such as the literacy and mathematics toolkits and high impact teaching strategies (HITS). Coherence, resourcing and prioritisation were identified as both barriers and enablers to implementation. There was some evidence of change reported in teacher practice, with changes to teachers’ professional knowledge, awareness, attitudes and beliefs as a result of the Strategy.
Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood)
The new Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood) focuses on learning and teaching for children aged birth-eight years and provides a qualification for registration to teach in early childhood settings. The course, which was approved for start-year 2020, is completed over one year of full-time study. It is intensive in nature and includes extended semesters, a winter term subject and placements throughout the year.
Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA) conference
The International Centre for Classroom Research (ICCR) team presented the paper How do teachers learn? Different mechanisms of teacher in-class learning at the 2019 MERGA conference.
The paper elaborates on the teacher change process described in the Interconnected Model of Teacher Professional Growth by providing empirical evidence from a study that investigated the knowledge construction process of three mathematics teachers in Melbourne.
Through a research design that aimed to facilitate teacher reflection regarding their learning processes during the design and teaching of lessons, two mechanisms of teacher learning were identified: consolidation in terms of reinforcement of existing knowledge and beliefs, and realisation of new knowledge and beliefs. This finding prompted a re- conceptualisation of the nature of teacher professional growth.
Expansion of Early Ables
The initial Early Abilities Based Learning and Educational Support (Early ABLES) Project developed practical resources for early childhood professionals to assist in the assessment, planning, facilitation, and reporting on the learning of foundational skills of children aged two to five years with additional learning needs.
The Expansion of the Early ABLES project, in partnership with the Department of Education and Training, aims to adapt and validate the ABLES resources for use with a two- to five-year old cohort of children with additional learning needs. The materials include assessment and reporting tools for Numeracy, Physical Movement and Thinking Skills. The adapted ABLES materials will be used to bridge understanding of early childhood capacity framed in the structure of the Victorian Early Years Learning Development Framework (VEYLDF), with that underpinning the Victorian Curriculum.
International Literature Review on Equity in Higher Education
Professor William Locke from the Centre for Study in Higher Education will join a research team from the University of Newcastle (UON) who have been awarded a grant from the Australian Department of Education and Training, under the HEPPP National Priority Pool Scheme, to develop an International Literature Review on Equity in Higher Education. This work will be a significant asset for the Australian field of Equity in Higher Education.
The project aims to feed into national strategic decision making on the use of funds to maximise impact of equity programs. The project will develop recommendations for policy-makers and university leaders, including the identification of future research areas.