Monday, 30 Sep 2019

The team behind PAT come from all walks of life and bring with them a wealth of experience. This month, we're meeting Daniel O'Loughlin, head of ACER's School Engagement program.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Daniel O’Loughlin and I’m Project Director of School Engagement at ACER. I support schools, systems and teachers in using ACER’s assessments, surveys and resources.

I'm responsible for a range of school engagement activities, including the webinar series that runs throughout the year (14 so far in 2019, with several more still to take place), personalised school visits and our new PAT Workshops program. These full-day workshops are currently being rolled out in each state capital and are a chance for teachers to be walked through the PAT approach – from getting ready to test to turning data into practice – from start to finish. Feedback from participants has been really encouraging so we'll be looking at offering more workshop dates in 2020.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My first degree was a Bachelor of Contemporary Arts majoring in film and photography. I worked for several years in that industry but quickly realised this was more of a hobby than something I wanted to do professionally. I travelled the world in search of career inspiration and returned to Melbourne to study teaching like my many aunts and uncles. I taught for several years and loved the classroom, but then a great opportunity came up with ACER...

What’s the best thing about your job?

Working with my colleagues. There are some amazing people in this organisation, and their passion for education echoes my own.

And the worst?

Meeting deadlines in different time zones. I’m not always at my best at 4am.

Any hobbies?

I am a bit of a handyman and enjoying tinkering about with the odd household project, but I also enjoy travelling and photography.

What are you reading or watching right now?

I am currently reading Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis and watching Carnival Row.

Who’s your favourite fictional character, and why?

My favourite fictional character would be Edmond Dantès from Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. His character arc is phenomenal: the changes wrought by the many trials he faces throughout Dumas' intricate plot are incredible to read.

Tell us your favourite PAT tip, fact or insider secret…

PAT Band Descriptions – they can help provide so much context around what a PAT scale score actually means in terms of skills and understandings. Not only can they help describe a student’s learning attainment but they can be used to better understand prerequisite skills that might need consolidation, as well as informing learning about the typical skills and understandings students learn next.