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Projects and publications

Each year, we are funding or partnered on over 30 projects through the Education Horizon grant scheme and Australian Research Council Linkage partnerships. Information about research projects happening in state schools and department sites across Queensland can be found on the Queensland Education Research Inventory website.

Our projects

Below is a brief overview of current projects.

Exceptional teaching for disadvantaged schools: a longitudinal study (ends Dec 2017)

Recruiting and retaining quality teachers for disadvantaged schools is a persistent problem, both in Australia and globally.

A unique teacher education program aims to prepare quality teachers for schools in low socio-economic communities. This project investigates how graduates of that program understand and enact 'quality' in their practice. It brings together theory on disadvantage, and the lived experience of teachers.

It builds on a successful partnership between the department and Queensland University of Technology.

For more information, visit the Social Ventures External Link website and watch the National Exceptional Teachers for Disadvantaged Schools video.

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Innovative learning environments and teacher change project (2016-2019)

About the project

This project is investigating the link between innovative learning environments and teacher change.

In the last six years the Australian and New Zealand governments have invested AU$16 billion of public funding to build Innovative Learning Environments (ILEs) in schools. These environments are designed to meet the changing needs of learners and education reform priorities, with multi-modal, technology-infused and flexible learning spaces.

New learning environments require new teaching methods, and apart from a small number of examples, teaching practices in ILEs remain the same as in traditional classrooms.

This project is looking at how teachers can harness the untapped potential of ILEs to improve learning outcomes for students. It will identify whether there is a link between quality teaching and effective use of ILEs and develop practical tools to assist teachers to adapt their teaching practices to maximise deeper learning.

For more information, visit the Innovative Learning Environments and Teacher Change project External Link.

Early findings

A survey conducted in the first phase of the project, gives a snapshot of the current 'state of play' when it comes to the nature of school spaces. Responses from 822 school principals indicate that:

  1. approximately 75 percent of all spaces are traditional classrooms
  2. the dominant teaching approach is teacher-led pedagogies
  3. participants from schools with a higher prevalence of traditional classroom spaces reported a lower assessment along the teacher mind frame continuum, with the reverse in more flexible learning spaces.

While the findings are based on perceptions of leading teachers, they still suggest there's evidence of a relationship between types of learning environments, teaching practices, teacher mind frames, and student deep learning.

For more information, visit the ILETC survey reports External Link.

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The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism

The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) is the world's first national, cooperative research effort focused on autism. It takes a 'whole of life' approach to autism focusing on diagnosis, education and adult life. It aims to transform the lives of people living with autism across their lifespan through end-user driven research.

The centre was opened in July 2013, and is a unique partnership between government, university, research and not-for profit organisations, and world-class researchers. It's funded by a mix of government, university and industry funding.

For more information, visit Autism CRC External Link.

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The E4Kids study

About the project

Effective Early Educational Experiences, or E4Kids, is Australia's most extensive study of the impact and effectiveness of early childhood education and care. It was conducted by the University of Melbourne and Queensland University of Technology, with funding support from the Australian Research Council, and the Victorian and Queensland governments.

Over five years, the project followed almost 2,500 children in Victoria and Queensland, measuring their progress as they participate in childcare, preschool and family day care programs. These children were compared with another group who did not attend formal early childhood services before school.

What researchers were looking for

Researchers investigated:

They used the Classroom Assessment Scoring System to rate early childhood education and care services against three quality domains:


The E4Kids study provides strong evidence that the quality of educator-child interactions makes a real difference to child outcomes.

It found that early childhood education and care services are generally better at providing emotional support to children and organising the learning space than they are at intentional teaching. The findings suggests a need to strengthen intentional teaching practices to better support children's learning in early childhood services and the early years of school.

The study also found that kindergartens generally rated higher in terms of the quality of care and learning compared to long day and family day care settings. This finding, from 2012, reinforces the government investment in universal kindergarten program access.

It should be noted that the study started in 2010 before the implementation of the National Quality Agreement, National Quality Framework and the approved learning frameworks. These may have lifted quality in early childhood education and care.

For more information, visit the University of Melbourne E4Kids website External Link and watch the official launch of the E4Kids study final report.

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School-wide approaches for developing social and emotional wellbeing: New understandings of positive identities, emotions and learning in adolescents (2015-2018)

The proportion of adolescents who are disengaging from school, being suspended and experiencing emotional problems, continues to rise. This research is testing how the learning, behavioural and social outcomes of adolescents can be improved, by embedding social and emotional wellbeing into:

The rationale for the research is that whole of school approaches are needed to build resilient youth and improve their social participation and wellbeing. A whole of school approach recognises that teacher wellbeing is an integral component of enhancing the wellbeing of students.

To see how teachers are using the project to enhance their own wellbeing, view the Mindful Practice 4 Teachers video.

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Developing the multimodal language of emotions of low socio-economic status primary students (2015-2018)

All students, and disadvantaged students especially, need to be able to communicate emotions in a variety of ways. Research shows that teachers aren't always equipped to teach them how.

The Strengthening Effective Language of Feelings In Education (SELFIE) research project aims to develop new approaches for strengthening low SES students' language of emotions across multiple modes and media. And it aims to document the students' language of emotions across modes and media.

It brings together schools, visual media experts, and policy makers to develop innovative approaches to strengthen students' language skills for emotional expression and wellbeing, and e-learning resources for teachers and students.

For more information, visit the SELFIE research project.

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Identifying effective strategies to grow and sustain a professional early years workforce (2014-2017)

This project is looking at ways to grow and sustain a professional early years workforce - investigating the factors that enable and impede recruitment, retention, engagement and the ongoing professional qualifications of early years educators, taking account of national and state policies and strategies, and local workforce ecosystems.

Partners include QUT, Charles Sturt University, Department of Education and Goodstart Early Learning.

In 2016, the project brought together early childhood educators, policy makers, peak organisations, and regulators to discuss the findings of a national survey of early childhood professionals.

For more information, view the Money, Love and Identity: Initial Findings from the National ECEC Workforce Study report Adobe PDF document[an error occurred while processing this directive].

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The Science of Learning Research Centre (2013 - 2017)

The Science of Learning Research Centre (SLRC) was set up in 2013. Its vision is to improve pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary learning outcomes through scientifically-validated tools and strategies.

The SLRC brings together neuroscientists, psychologists and education researchers from across the country, collaborating on programs to better understand learning, using a range of innovative experimental techniques and programs.

The SLRC is partnered by three state education departments, four international universities, the Benelovent Society and Questacon in Canberra.

For more information, visit the SLRC website.

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Kids in Communities Study (2014 - 2016)

The Kids in Communities Study (KiCS) is working to understand how different factors in our communities-physical environment, social environment, socio-economic factors, access to services, and governance-influence the way that children develop.

We know that the early childhood years have a profound and lasting impact on children's health and developmental outcomes. We also know that there are different factors in our communities that play a major role in the healthy development of children, particularly the resources that families can access. We don't know exactly which community factors impact child development, and how we can modify those factors to help all children to have the best start in life. The what and the how is what KiCS wants to answer.

For more information, visit the KiCs website.

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CREATE-ing pathways to prevention

Aim of the project

CREATE is an acronym: Collaborative; Relationship-driven; Early in the pathway; Accountable; Training-focused; Evidence-driven. This long-term project is ultimately about reducing youth crime and promoting human and community development.

Where the project came from

The CREATE Project emerged from the Pathways to Prevention project.

The Pathways to Prevention project began in 2001 with the aim of involving family, school and community in a broad set of planned interventions to prevent anti-social behaviour among four to six year olds, as there is a strong evidence base that problem behaviour by young children is one of the strongest predictors of both adult delinquency and later adult offending. The program focused on enhancing the communication and social skills of young people and empowering their families, schools and ethnic communities to provide supportive environments for positive development.

The Pathways Project ran from 2001 to 2011 as a partnership between national community service agency Mission Australia, seven local primary schools and Griffith University, in several ethnically diverse, socially disadvantaged, and high-crime Brisbane suburbs.

Building on the Pathways project

An important outcome of the Pathways Project has been a longitudinal database of child outcomes. Including data from nearly 5,000 children, Department of Education records, and case studies - this database provides an unprecedented wealth of long-term data.

An Australian Research Council Discovery Project (2013-2016) entitled Crime, poverty and early prevention: a Longitudinal study of social and developmental pathways to wellbeing through the Pathways to Prevention Project, analysed these data and added official youth justice data for the original preschool cohort (2002-3).

The CREATE project

It is an attempt to strengthen collaborative practices around clear, measurable goals that are achieved through evidence-based initiatives. These principles underpin a model of preventative action that:

These principles are being applied in the CREATE-ing Pathways to Child Wellbeing in Disadvantaged Communities Project, 2013-2022. This project seeks to keep improving prevention delivery systems by applying and testing a Prevention Translation and Support System which consists of both human and electronic infrastructure in order to put the CREATE principles into practice.

For more information, view the Creating Pathways to Prevention video.

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Our publications

Research at a Glance

Research at a Glance is a regular email from Research Services disseminating new research publications in Early Childhood, School Education, Tertiary Education and Research, Policy and Practice. Previous Research at a Glance issues can be found on our staff intranet.

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This page was last reviewed on 28 Mar 2018 at 10:34AM

Queensland Education Research Inventory
Education Horizon grant scheme
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