Jeanine Gallagher

A national assessment model for school-age students with disability: An institutional ethnography of the practice of policy

There is an expectation students with disability will attend their local school, on the same basis with similarly aged peers (Commonwealth of Australia, 2005).  Teachers are expected to plan learning for students with disability that ensures full access to, and participation in, the mandated curriculum. Inevitably the issue of additional resources that may (or may not) be needed to meet the educational needs of students with disability is raised.  The new national policy, the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD), collects information about the number of students with disability, their location, and the level of educational adjustments they receive.  This data will be used to inform Commonwealth Government planning and funding for school students with disability.

This research project aims to understand how teachers enact this policy. Teacher professional judgements, their knowledge and understanding of each student with disability is basis for confirming the two components of the data collection, a category of disability and a level of educational adjustment which they provide for the student. As teachers make these evaluations they are informed by their own conceptualisations of learning, and learners with disability, as well as applying their assessment knowledge to this new assessment task.  In seeking to understand how teachers enact this policy, it is anticipated the outcomes of this research will provide important insights for school leaders, and education authorities, as they develop and implement structures to support teachers in this work.

Supervisors: Dr Jill WillisDr Nerida Spina