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EDPP600 Critical Enquiry and Evidence-Based Practice A

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit uses the reflective critical enquiry proposal developed in EDPP600 as the focus of evidence-based practice in action. Early career teachers will enact their proposals within a specified context, focussing on meeting the strengths and needs of students in the selected learning area and year cohort. These activities will be supported by communities of learning established around teaching for specific learning areas. In doing so, early career teachers will demonstrate highly effective teaching practice that: aligns curriculum, assessment, learning and teaching; draws on specific assessment evidence to construct learning and teaching that enhances student learning outcomes; and utilises a critical enquiry lens to value-add to their curriculum, teaching communities and the school community at large. The critical enquiry will then be used as the basis for preparing for undertaking school-based processes within relevant state or territory policy for transitioning from provisional to full registration.

This unit aims to support the ongoing induction and professional learning needs of early career teachers engaged in employment-based teacher preparation. It is the second of two units undertaken in the second year of the Master of Teaching (Secondary) (Professional 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 - reflect on, and critically analyse professional knowledge, practice and engagement commensurate with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and relevant professional codes (GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 6.1, 6.2, 6.4)

LO2 - demonstrate the ability to interpret and synthesise complex information, concepts and theories of how students learn and the implications for teaching (GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 1.2)

LO3 - implement a critical, ethical, evidence-based enquiry into the alignment of curriculum, assessment, learning, and teaching to enhance student learning outcomes in selected teaching areas, incorporating literacy and numeracy (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)

LO4 - analyse and evaluate school-based data including assessment data; develop a specific intervention strategy; and subsequently evaluate its impact on transforming aspects of the learning experience and its impact on student learning outcomes (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8; APST 1.2, 3.2, 3.6, 5.1, 5.4)

LO5 - demonstrate their ability to communicate the findings of their critical enquiry to specialist and non-specialist audiences (GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9; APST 6.3, 7.4). 

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.

7.4 Understand the role of external professionals and community representatives in broadening teachers’ professional knowledge and practice.


Topics will include:

  • Critical enquiry as research in professional practice; principles for safe and ethical practices, including participant engagement, data collection, analysis and reporting
  • Reflective professional practice; synthesising and evaluating evidence of professional identity, resilience and wellbeing
  • Conducting practitioner research; implementing research methods and techniques commonly used in educational research
  • Principles of ethical data collection and analysis techniques commonly used in educational research
  • Data and evidence; strategies to record, interpret and analyse evidence of student learning to evaluate and modify teaching practice
  • Strategies to record, interpret and analyse student assessment data in order to evaluate student learning and modify teaching practice.
  • Assessment strategies, including informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches to assess student learning
  • Principles and practices of assessment moderation and its application to support consistent and comparable judgements of student learning
  • Synthesising and evaluating critical enquiry; evaluation of teaching and learning for forward-planning in relation to student learning and professional development
  • Preparing research reports; conventions of professional academic writing
  • Evidencing the Teacher Standards
  • Communities of practice; considering contemporary curriculum and pedagogical approaches, assessment strategies, and principles and practices of assessment moderation
  • The purposes and tools of program evaluation for forward-planning – pre and post evaluation strategies for teaching and learning plans
  • Conventions of professional academic writing.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The implementation of this unit will focus on educational context in which the ECT will be engaged in a 0.8 teaching load and undertaking the diverse duties of a practising educator including: planning, teaching, assessment, reporting, differentiated engagement with students, department/year-level/school meetings, collaborative team planning sessions, supervision, moderation of learning, and other duties required within the particular education setting.

This unit involves an ongoing research and critical enquiry focus on evidence-based practice that commenced in the previous unit EDPP600. The critical enquiry aims to inform the ECT’s pedagogy, is aligned with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers Proficient Standards and add value to their education context. The research project will be conducted in consultation with the ECT’s school and academic mentors and will be collegially supported by these mentors as the project is bought to a conclusion. The ECT will engage in regular feedback discussions and proactive planning with their teaching and academic mentors and other ECT colleagues within the supportive environment of a community of practice (COP). The unit will conclude with a final report on the critical enquiry research project.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed to allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the unit learning outcomes and demonstrate attainment of professional standards.

This is a 20-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 300 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video, workshops, and assignments etc. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1:

Enquiry Project Report

Implement a critical enquiry project (as designed in EDPP600), collect and analyse data and evidence to assess student learning and the effectiveness of the pedagogical approach being investigated, and prepare a final report following conventions for reporting research.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

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

Assessment Task 2: Presentation of Critical Enquiry Project

Pre-service teachers will communicate enquiry-based project processes and findings to a community of learners, demonstrating the nexus between critical enquiry and practice. Pre-service teachers will demonstrate the impact on student learning and their ability to critically reflect in and on action in the school context through evidence. The evidence of professional knowledge, practice and engagement will demonstrate that they are working towards the APST Proficient Teacher Standards that includes.

The format of their presentation will include a portfolio that is an extension and elaboration on the one produced earlier in their course.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

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

Representative texts and references

Alber, S. (2011). A tool kit for action research. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Bullough, R.V. (2014). Toward reconstructing the narrative of teacher education: A rhetorical analysis of preparing teachers. Journal of Teacher Education. 65(3). Pp. 185-194.

Cairns, L. (2011). Learning in the workplace: Communities of practice and beyond. In M. Malloch, L. Cairns, K. Evans, & B.N. O’Connor (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of workplace learning (pp. 73-85) London, England: SAGE

Elliot, J. (Ed) (2011). Reconstructing teacher education. Routledge: New York.

Fichtman, D.F., & Yendol-Silva, D. (2009). The reflective educator's guide to classroom research: Learning to teach and teaching to learn through practitioner inquiry (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Johnson, A.P. (2012). Short guide to action research. (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson

Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., & Nixon, R. (2014). The action research planner: Doing critical participatory action research. Singapore: Springer Singapore.

Koshy, V. (2010). Action research for improving educational practice: A step-by-step guide (2nd ed.). London, England: Sage.

Macintyre, C. (2012). The art of action research in the classroom. London, England: David Fulton Publishers Ltd.

Shagoury, R., & Miller-Power, B. (2012). Living the questions: A guide for teacher-researchers (2nd ed.). United States: Stenhouse Publishers.

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