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Leading improvement collaboratively and sustainably: Evolution of the School Improvement Tool
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Leading improvement collaboratively and sustainably: Evolution of the School Improvement Tool

Research 3 minute read

ACER is trusted by educators around the world to provide evidence-based tools for school improvement. Here's how our most widely used framework was developed and what it offers in 2024.

ACER’s  approach to school improvement is driven by our commitment to ensuring that every learner learns successfully, which we see as an urgent global challenge. We work in long-term partnerships in Australia and internationally to address this challenge. Our suite of evidence-based improvement tools supports education systems and schools to drive and sustain ongoing improvements.   

The National School Improvement Tool (NSIT)

ACER’s most widely used framework is the National School Improvement Tool (NSIT), which has been supporting education systems and schools for over a decade. The NSIT consists of 9 interrelated domains of practice with accompanying performance levels. It facilitates shared understandings of impactful practices across all levels of the school. The tool provides a key frame of reference to make evidence-informed judgements about current practice in order to plan for improvement and measure growth over time.

Development of the School Improvement Tool

In 2023, the NSIT was revised based on a comprehensive review of international research evidence, and evidence from practice. The review strongly endorsed the rigour of the 9 Domains. The updated tool, the School Improvement Tool, foregrounds key themes critical to school improvement in each Domain as evident in contemporary research.  These are: 

• student learning, wellbeing and engagement

• inclusion

• alignment between curriculum, assessment and pedagogy

• stakeholder input, particularly student voice 

• broader conceptualisations of data (learning, engagement, wellbeing), student engagement, and promoting an orderly environment

• school context

• evaluation and impact

• efficacy and collaboration.

Using the School Improvement Tool

The SIT is available for download from ACER's website for schools and systems to use independently.

The full literature review that informed its development is available from the ACEReSearch repository,  as is a summary of it. 

ACER works in long-term partnership with education systems globally to support system transformation efforts. The range of support services ACER offers includes capability-building for school and system leaders, training of accredited school reviewers and a full school review service.  

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