Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Emerging educational leaders need to demonstrate reflexive evidence-based practice that impacts their educational setting. This is the first of two units undertaken in the Highly Accomplished/Lead Educational Practice specialisation of the Graduate Certificate of Education. This unit focuses on clarifying and reflecting on the emerging educational leaders’ current practice in action. Emerging educational leaders will learn to use ethical data collection measures to collect and collate data that demonstrates evidence of highly accomplished practice and to undertake substantial reflective and reflexive processes in order to evaluate how their current practice adds value to their educational community. Emerging leaders will then develop a critical enquiry proposal that addresses a problem of practice within their specified educational context, focusing on professional knowledge, professional practice and professional engagement. This critical enquiry will then be used as the basis for preparing a proposal which influences educational practice, aligning with AITSL Highly accomplished or lead).

This unit aims to support the ongoing professional learning needs of emerging educational leaders by guiding evaluation and reflection of current practice.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - describe the relationship between their consolidated professional knowledge, practice and engagement commensurate with relevant professional codes of ethics and conduct, and the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) Highly Accomplished and Lead Standards (GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 6.1, 6.3, 6.4, 7.1)

LO2 - interpret, analyse and evaluate educational data to make expert judgements about teaching and learning practices and environments in alignment with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) Highly Accomplished and Lead Standards; (GA3, GA5, GA8; APST 3.6, 5.4, 6.2, 6.4)

LO3 - evaluate the impact of intervention strategies on transforming practice for educational change and develop a specific intervention strategy; (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8; APST 1.2, 3.2, 3.6, 5.1, 5.4)

LO4 - plan a critical, ethical, evidence-based enquiry in leading educational practice. (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9; APST 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.6, 4.1, 5.1, 5.4, 6.2, 6.4, 7.1)

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students and how these may affect learning.

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

2.3 Use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans.

3.1 Set learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics.

3.2 Plan lesson sequences using knowledge of student learning, content and effective teaching strategies.

3.3 Include a range of teaching strategies.

3.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

5.1 Demonstrate understanding of assessment strategies, including informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches to assess student learning.

5.4 Demonstrate the capacity to interpret student assessment data to evaluate student learning and modify teaching practice.

6.1 Demonstrate an understanding of the role of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers in identifying professional learning needs.

6.2 Understand the relevant and appropriate sources of professional learning for teachers.

6.3 Seek and apply constructive feedback from supervisors and teachers to improve teaching practices.

6.4 Demonstrate an understanding of the rationale for continued professional learning and the implications for improved student learnings. 

7.1 Understand and apply the key principles described in codes of ethics and conduct for the teaching profession.


Topics will include:

  • Reflective professional practice; self-auditing, collegial engagement and mentoring to lead effectively in educational settings
  • Principles of ethical data collection and analysis techniques commonly used in educational research
  • Communities of practice; improving knowledge, practice and engagement within educational contexts
  • Data and evidence; strategies to record, interpret and analyse qualitative and quantitative data relating to student learning and professional practice
  • Develop researchable questions and refining, contextualising and justifying an educational intervention
  • Designing and managing projects; strategies for responding to researchable questions and organising research processes, timelines and data

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The nature of the learning outcomes of this unit require you to reflect in the mode of critical enquiry, iteratively interrogating practice, evidence and context. Accordingly, the learning and teaching strategy in this unit involves an ongoing collection, evaluation and reflection on evidence of professional knowledge, practice and engagement. Emerging leaders will develop a critical enquiry which is aligned with the relevant career stage (Australian Professional Standards for Teachers Highly Accomplished or Lead) which adds value to their educational context. The unit will conclude with a proposal of the critical enquiry research project which will be implemented in the subsequent unit EDEP601.

  • Available online or multi-mode for cohorts by special arrangement

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks, their sequence, timing and weightings are designed to allow you to progressively demonstrate achievement against the course learning outcomes by demonstrating your attainment of academic and professional standards. The two units in this specialisation focus on developing skills in school-based contextual issue identification, literature alignment and problem solving.

The assessment tasks are sequenced and timed to allow feedback and progressive development. By completing Task 1 you will demonstrate your strengths and weaknesses in alignment with the APSTs. Assessment task 2 follows to allow you to identify and review contextual issues to improve student learning. Task 1 and 2 are built on with Task 3 which requires you to develop an enquiry project proposal for your individual context.

A range of assessment procedures are used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop APSTs and criteria consistent with University assessment requirements.


Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Audit and Portfolio of Documentary Evidence at Highly Accomplished/ Lead APSTs

a) Present an audit of your present strengths and weaknesses with an accompanying portfolio of evidence at Highly Accomplished or Lead Educational Practitioner. From this audit, map a way forward to address these weaknesses and evidence these strengths.

b) Present a portfolio which will include one set of evidence which meets 2-4 standard descriptors and another incomplete set of evidence, with an annotated commentary of actions and evidence to address the gaps.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 2: Review

Describe the context and identify contextual issues to determine an area of need you wish to explore to improve student learning. Review the literature and guiding policies and practices in alignment with the problem. Review, synthesis and analyse the literature, policies and practices to determine several courses of action. Critically evaluate these courses of action and justify the most appropriate intervention for your context.


LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8

Assessment Task 3: Enquiry Project Proposal

Using the identified problem from assessment task 2, develop a proposal for a cause of action within an education setting which includes:

  • Strategic goals aligned with AITSL standards and informed by evidence, school / system practices and policies;
  • Implementation strategies
  • Timeline for implementation
  • Methods for data collection
  • Processes for project evaluation and reporting.


LO1, LO3, LO4

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. (2014). Evaluation of the implementation of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Interim report on baseline implementation: 2013 Key Findings.

Gurr, D. (2019). Australian Considerations in Relation to Instructional Leadership and Leadership for Learning. In Instructional Leadership and Leadership for Learning in Schools (pp. 77-104). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Fullan, M. (2006). The Future of Educational Change: System thinkers in action. Journal of Educational Change, 7(3), 113-122.

Hallinger, P. (2003). Leading educational change: Reflections on the practice of instructional and transformational leadership. Cambridge Journal of Education, 33(3), 329-352.

Hattie, J. (2015). High-Impact Leadership. Educational Leadership, 72(5), 36-40.

Holmes, K., Clement, J., & Albright, J. (2013). The complex task of leading educational change in schools. School Leadership & Management, 33(3), 270-283.

Labone, E., & Long, J. (2016). Features of effective professional learning: A case study of the implementation of a system-based professional learning model. Professional Development in Education, 42(1), 54-77.

Lieberman, A. (Ed.). (2007). The Roots of Educational Change: International Handbook of Educational change (Vol. 1). Springer Science & Business Media.

Malone, H. J. (2015). Leading Educational Change: Global Issues, Challenges, and Lessons on Whole- System Reform. Teachers College Press.

Mayer, D., Mitchell, J., Macdonald, D., & Bell, R. (2005). Professional standards for teachers: A case study of professional learning. Asia‐Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 33(2), 159-179.

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