improvement services

School Improvement Service

How can ACER help improve my school?

ACER's School Improvement Service offers:

  • training of leadership teams
  • access to educational coach consultants
  • access to professional learning practitioners
  • conference-level or small-group presentations to school leaders
  • access to ACER researchers to undertake case studies
  • the ability to link into a professional network of educational leaders, and
  • support and assistance in unpacking and understanding your school's data.

All supported by insight and knowledge from our work in educational research and educational assessment.

“Principals have expressed confidence in the fact that the School Review team is using a tool which is grounded in research, delivered by an ‘expert and politically detached’ team, who bring with them the motivation to help and support school improvement.”

Daryl Hanly, ACER School Improvement Consultant

School improvement planning

When developing a school improvement plan, ACER can assist schools by performing an independent school review, helping to recommend courses of action for effective school improvement practices.

ACER can also provide access to research capabilities, tailored professional development, and formal training for leadership staff, helping them to understand the nine domains of the NSIT and monitor school improvement progress over time.

Download 'Schools as Learning Organisations
school improvement planning

Coaching and professional development

ACER educational coaching consultants can offer insight on specific domains of the National School Improvement Tool, and offer ongoing support to your leadership team as they implement school improvement strategies. We can work with individuals, teams and whole school staff; coaching them to implement identified school improvement strategies and achieve improvement goals.

Expert consultancy

ACER’s School Improvement team also provides access to a professional network of educators, across Australia and internationally, who have previously undertaken school reviews and implemented school improvement practices, helping schools to learn from peers and colleagues in similar situations. We can also facilitate presentations and case studies to present to governance boards or department-level administrative bodies showcasing the effective school improvement practices your school is implementing.

Case studies and media

Barriers to school improvement & how to overcome them

Robert Marshall
Senior Project Director, School Improvement

In 2012, in partnership with Queensland Department of Education, the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) developed the National School Improvement Tool (NSIT). The NSIT has now been endorsed by Ministers of Education in all states and territories and is freely available online to all Australian schools for use in their school improvement planning.

Leading school improvement - it’s difficult isn’t it?

Being the leader of a school is a demanding and complex enterprise. A critical agenda for any school leader is improving the learning of students.

Why can it be so hard to generate improvement that is sustainable? If the solution was straightforward, all schools would be on a trajectory towards strong academic achievement.

A characteristic of high performing schools is strong and effective leadership; but, what is it about leadership (at all levels in a school) that can move a school towards improvement and transformation?

Our work at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) has revealed that there can often be a disconnect between the intent of school leaders and classroom reality. Having a commitment and desire to improve student outcomes is one thing, but putting together an explicit plan and communicating that to staff...

School audits lead to improvement

Despite the current global preoccupation with whole-system reform, in many school settings the improvement agenda is too general. To address that, ACER developed a tool that provides individual schools with a way to narrow and sharpen the focus of their school improvement plan. In the two years following the first use of the tool there are signs that it is having a positive impact on the quality of teaching and learning.


Queensland Teaching and Learning Audits 2010–2012

This paper describes the teaching and learning audits introduced in Queensland government schools in the period 2010- 2012. The teaching and learning audits were based on an audit tool developed by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) for the Queensland Department of Education and Training (DET).1 The audit tool was a precursor to the National School Improvement Tool and, in 2010-2012, consisted of the first eight domains of the final tool.2 The Queensland experience provides a valuable case study of one education system’s use of the tool as a basis for external school reviews, school self-evaluations and school improvement planning.