Literacy & teacher assessment receive major funding boost

ACU’s Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education (ILSTE) has been awarded grants for two separate projects set to improve literacy and the reliability of teacher assessment

The Australian Research Council (ARC) grants total more than $1m in funding for the benefit of school children throughout Australia.

Associate Professor Lenore Adie, Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith, Professor Jacqueline Cumming (ILSTE) and their colleagues, Dr Stephen Humphry, Professor David Andrich (UWA); Associate Professor Christopher DeLuca (Queen’s University, Canada); Mr Terry Gallagher (QLD Department of Education and Training) have been awarded $511,658 in ARC funding and $346,314 in industry partner cash funding (Total awarded $857,972). The project aims to improve teacher assessment with a specific focus on teacher judgement and decision-making about quality of student work.

The goal of the project is to assess the dependability of teacher judgement using psychometric scaling and online moderation. It will use an innovative approach to connecting achievement standards and judgement-practice for middle-years students in the Australian education system.

Expected outcomes of the project include the development of scaled work samples exemplifying A-E standards of achievement, refined methods for the consistency and comparability of assessment decisions, and a new approach to moderating teacher judgements. This project should provide significant benefits in building teachers’ assessment capabilities, shaping policy and teacher preparation.

ACU’s ILSTE Professor Len Unsworth is leading the second project and will work alongside ACU’s ILSTE Professor Kathy Mills and external colleagues Professor Garry Falloon (Macquarie University) and Professor Andrew Burn (University College London).

Awarded $442,609, the literacy project aims to investigate a re-conceptualisation of multimodal text creation to include inter-related processes of computer programming (coding) and computational thinking, which have previously been confined to technical fields in education research.

It seeks to generate knowledge of cross-curricular teaching pedagogies and student learning of multimodal composition, coding, and computational thinking in schools. The project expects to fortify students’ capabilities to participate in new forms of digital authorship, developing their capacity for innovative application of computational thinking and coding. Intended benefits include an established evidence base for strengthening English and technology curricula in Australia and internationally.

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