Accessible Assessment Forum

Back view of schoolclass working on tablets

Designing out barriers in assessment tasks to improve student outcomes 

Assessment is an important part of high school. Each assessment task is an invitation to students to show what they know and they can do. Students’ comprehension of assessment tasks can impact their task engagement and response to the task. In this forum, researchers from the Accessible Assessment ARC Linkage project will share the work that has been completed so far with teachers to redesign secondary school assessment tasks to enhance student comprehension and achievement. We look forward to both sharing findings from this research and to discussing how secondary school assessment tasks can be made more accessible for students.

The research team will be presenting initial findings from the project, along with our partners:

Benowa, Kedron, and Macgregor State High Schools,

Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA)

QLD Secondary School Principals Association, and

Speech Pathology Australia.

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Available to registered attendees only.

2022 Nov C4IE_Forum_Program

Professor Linda Graham and Associate Professor Jill Willis

Introducing the Accessible Assessment ARC Linkage Project

Professor Linda Graham & Ms Haley Tancredi

What is accessibility and why does it matter?

Associate Professor Jill Willis & Ms Julie Arnold

Success criteria as a starting point for increasing accessibility in assessment

Ms Haley Tancredi

Accessible assessment tasks: Beneficial for all but essential for some

Professor Linda Graham

Identifying and removing barriers to optimise students’ comprehension of secondary school assessment tasks

Screenshot Identifying and removing barriers presentation

Discussion Panel: Ms Anne Camilleri, Ms Kathy McKenna & Mr Matt Pickersgill

What did we learn and what has been the impact?


Dr Callula Killingly, Professor Linda Graham, Associate Professor Sonia White & Professor Naomi Sweller

Did the redesign work? Evidence from students’ visual engagement, comprehension, and achievement

Screenshot: did the redesign work video

Ms Jessica Jones, Ms Kathy McKenna & Georgina Thiris

Making changes to increase accessibility: What can you do at your school?


Mr Terry Gallagher (DoE), Ms Gaenor Dixon (SPA), Mr Tony McCormack (QSPA) & Ms Alison Welch (QCAA)

Sounds great, but…what are some common myths that stop people from taking assessment action?



ARC Linkage Chief Investigators

Linda GrahamProfessor Linda Graham

Linda is Director of QUT’s Centre for Inclusive Education (C4IE) and a Professor in the Faculty of Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice. Her research investigates the role of education policy and schooling practices in the development of disruptive student behaviour and the improvement of responses to children that teachers can find difficult to teach. Linda is co-leading the Accessible Assessment ARC Linkage project with A/Prof Jill Willis, and the Central Queensland Leading Inclusive Education Reform project with  A/Prof Terri Bourke and Ms Haley Tancredi.

Jill WillisAssociate Professor Jill Willis 

Jill is an Associate Professor in QUT’s School of Teacher Education and Leadership. Her research investigates how learners navigate performance expectations in assessment systems, so learners of all ages can be supported to experience greater success and agency. This interest has led her to teach about assessment for learning, leadership of change, and research in areas such as assessment, learning spaces and middle leadership. Jill particularly enjoys working with teachers and school leaders who undertake higher degree learning and research. 

Naomi Sweller Professor Naomi Sweller 

Naomi is a Professor in the School of Psychological Sciences. She conducts research in the broad field of cognitive development, more specifically examining the use of gesture by both child and adult learners and communicators, as well as concept learning by children and adults.

Sonia White - Vision & Everyday FunctionAssociate Professor Sonia White 

Sonia is an expert in cognitive neuroscience (EEG) and eye tracking research methods. Her research is distinctly transdisciplinary and translational; she conducts both experimental and classroom-based research with multidisciplinary teams to help education and health professionals better support children’s learning processes and development.

Gaenor DixonGaenor Dixon

Gaenor Dixonis responsible for the statewide strategic leadership of therapy and nursing services within a State education department. Gaenor is currently a Principal Investigator on the Accessible Assessment ARC Linkage Project. Between 2015-2019, she was the President of Speech Pathology Australia (SPA), the peak professional body for over 10,000 speech pathologists in Australia.

Callula KillinglyDr Callula Killingly 

Callula is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in The Centre for Inclusive Education (C4IE) at QUT and a member of the Accessible Assessment ARC Linkage Team. Her research interests include learning and memory processes, language and literacy development, and music cognition.



ARC Linkage PhD Candidates

Julie ArnoldMs Julie Arnold 

Julie is a PhD candidate on the Accessible Assessment Linkage Project. Her research focuses on the experiences of students and how teachers respond to their insights about AfL pedagogies. The research will contribute to an understanding of how current assessment practices affect students and suggest how the agentic power of students might improve the ways teachers and students learn from one another. 

Haley TancrediMs Haley Tancredi 

Haley is a PhD candidate at QUT, where she is investigating the impact of teachers’ use of accessible pedagogies on the classroom experiences, engagement and learning outcomes of students with language and attentional difficulties. Haley is a Senior Research Assistant in the Centre for Inclusive Education and is also a chief investigator on the Central Queensland Region Inclusion Action Research Project.  

Research Partners

Anne CamillerAnne Camiller

Anne Camiller is the Head of the English Department at Kedron State High School. She has had a wide and varied teaching career of over thirty years’ duration, but it is in her current role that she has been able to best indulge her true love of collaborating with others to design curriculum and pedagogy which enact real change in the way that students see themselves as learners.


Terry GallagherTerry Gallagher

Terry Gallagher is Director – Curriculum in the State Schools – Teaching, Leadership, Rural and Remote section of the Department of Education. Terry is responsible for the implementation of the Australian Curriculum in Queensland State Schools, the Queensland State Schools STEM Strategy and the Health and Wellbeing curriculum provision. His role includes developing  policy and guidelines, professional learning and teachers capability. Terry has recently worked with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) on the review of the Australian Curriculum, and the subsequent revision of the  curriculum to create Version 9. He is the currently a partner in an ARC Linkage Project – Improving teacher assessment capabilities using exemplars and online moderation.

Jessica JonesJessica Jones

Jessica Jones is an English and Drama teacher at MacGregor State High School. She graduated Griffith University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Education and began her career at Nyanda State High School. In her nine years at MacGregor, she has worked across the English, Performing Arts and Humanities faculties, and spent six years in the role of Year Co-Ordinator for the 2020 cohort. With a passion for student wellbeing and building relationships, Jessica is a key member of two of MacGregor’s focus groups, Learning and Wellbeing.

Tony McCormackTony McCormack

Tony McCormack is Principal of Urangan SHS, a large regional high school on Queensland’s Fraser Coast. As a school leader in a range of regional, rural, and remote settings over the past decade, Tony has continually advocated for improved opportunities for students and communities; advocacy that has also seen Tony serve on the Executive of the Queensland Secondary Principals’ Association (QSPA) since 2014, currently as Treasurer. A lifelong learner, Tony is also a QUT EdD student whose research interest centres on framing contemporary school leadership as an entrepreneurial activity.

Kathryn McKennaKathryn McKenna

Kathryn McKenna is the Head of the English Department at MacGregor State High School. An alumnus of QUT, she has been teaching English and Humanities for 30 years, beginning her career in Central Queensland, later moving to London and finally settling in Brisbane to teach in one of its most multicultural schools. She has a deep interest in curriculum and assessment design and creating learning environments that are supportive and challenging. Outside of work, her passions are reading, film and family.

Matt PickersgillMatt Pickersgill

Matt Pickersgill began teaching Secondary English and Drama in 2006. Since then he has had various roles such as Literacy Coach, Senior Schooling Head of Department, and since 2017, his current role as Benowa State High School’s English Head of Department. He is passionate about curriculum and its ability to extend students’ skills and knowledge. In 2016 he was seconded to QCAA, taking on the role of Manager of Assessment, working on initial External Assessment trials and Accreditation.

Georgina ThirisGeorgina Thiris

Born and raised in Brisbane, Georgina Thiris was encouraged by her Greek-born parents to both value and pursue education. Therefore, it’s no surprise that she chose a career in teaching, in the hope of instilling that same passion for learning in her students. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Honour) and Diploma of Education she has taught in the Queensland State Education system since 1989 and at MacGregor SHS since 1993. When she’s not reading, she enjoys spending time with family and friends.


Alison WelchAlison Welch

Alison is currently the Manager, Quality Assurance Unit at the QCAA, supporting Queensland schools to implement and quality assure internal assessment in Year 11 and 12. Alison has taught in P-10 and secondary schools across Queensland, and was most recently an Head of Department – English at a large secondary school in Ipswich.


Location: E550 Education Precinct, Kelvin Grove Campus, QUT Brisbane [link to map]
Start Date: 04/11/2022 [add to calendar]
Start Time: 8:55am
End Date: 04/11/2022
End Time: 5:00pm
Cost: In-person $199; online $139
Organiser: The Centre for Inclusive Education