Project update: Semester 1, 2022

Project update: Semester 1 2022 

It’s only May and we already have lots of exciting news to share with you about the Accessible Assessment ARC Linkage Project! 

Over the course of this year, 24 English teachers, three English Heads of Department, and a range of specialist support staff (Heads of Special Education, Speech Pathologists) across our three partner schools will participate in two programs of learning.  

The first, led by school-based assessment expert, Associate Professor Jill Willis, is focusing on refining teachers’ expert practice in Assessment for Learning (AfL). These small everyday teaching activities aligned to the success criteria for summative assessment can help students become more independent and improve the quality of their work while they are doing the work. 

The second program of learning, led by inclusive education expert, Professor Linda Graham, aims to provide teachers with a range of evidence-based practices they can use to maximise student engagement, comprehension, learning and achievement. 

In the last term and a half, we have used video cameras in classrooms to observe the way teachers and students communicate key ideas. Our goal is to enhance the clarity of instruction to increase student comprehension and understanding.  

At the same time, we have also been working with the English Heads of Department to revise last year’s Term 2 assessment task sheet. Our suggested revisions have been based on the eye-tracking and interview data collected from Grade 10 students in 2021. These data highlighted students’ eye gaze fixation, which can help pinpoint lack of clarity in written words. 

We are currently testing those revised task sheets with the 2022 Grade 10 cohort and so far the data is looking very positive! 

So far in 2022 we have conducted:  

  • 223 reading comprehension assessments 
  • 223 student engagement surveys (underway) 
  • 63 language and attention assessments 
  • 118 eye-tracking and interview check-list sessions  
  • 52 student interviews 
  • 14 student focus-groups 
  • 11 teacher interviews  
  • 64 hours of classroom observations 
  • 2 half-day professional learning workshops 
  • 6 professional learning community meetings 

This progress is incredible given that participating schools and our research team have this year navigated the unexpected challenges of a new COVID variant and the Brisbane floods, each of which have caused disruptions to the school term and numerous people involved in the project.  

In these trying circumstances, we have seen amazing resilience shown by both teachers and students. And, with a bit of agile thinking and plenty of humour, some of these ‘setbacks’ have been reclaimed as important research opportunities. We will recount these small wins in future blogs to keep our community updated between newsletters. 

ABC Radio Brisbane Drive: Interview with Haley Tancredi 

On Tuesday 4 April, PhD candidate Haley Tancredi spoke with Kelly Higgins-Devine about the Accessible Assessment ARC Linkage project. She discussed: 

  • the investment that the ARC and our research partners (QCAA, QSPA, SPA and our Partner Schools) have made in this important project 
  • the complex and dedicated work that our Partner School HODs and research team have been doing to re-design Grade 10 English task sheets 
  • some very early findings from students indicating that overly complex assessment task sheets present barriers to comprehension whether students experience language and/or attentional difficulties or not. 

Listen to the recording here 

The Accessible Assessment ARC Linkage Blog has two new posts! 

What are we learning from students with language and/or attentional difficulties?   

In this blog, PhD candidate Haley Tancredi shares early findings from her doctoral research, which is being conducted as part of the Accessible Assessment ARC Linkage project. 

Making visible the invisible: Using eye-tracking technology to understand how students access task information  

In this C4IE blog, Dr Callula Killingly, a postdoctoral fellow in C4IE’s Accessible Assessment ARC Linkage team, explains what eye tracking is, and why we are using this innovative technique with Grade 10 English students. 

Watch this space 

On the 4th of November, the Accessible Assessment ARC Linkage team will be hosting a Forum to showcase preliminary findings from this ground-breaking research. This event will be open to our partners, teachers, parents, and other stakeholders. Stay tuned for more details! 

Don’t forget to follow us! 

We have set up various platforms for making sure the project is visible to the world:  

  • Check out the Accessible Assessment ARC Linkage website to learn more about the project, read about the research team and research partners, and access free resources for parents and teachers, 
  • Watch our introductory video to find out why this research is so important and what we are doing  
  • Follow us Twitter 

Please share links to our website, video and Twitter handle widely 😊 

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