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 Latest Research

AIS is committed to sharing the highest quality evidence from research findings to help inform practice within the independent sector. Research is categorised below for ease of access and is updated regularly:

  1. AIS Research Summaries 
  2. Latest Education Research in the Public Domain  

  3. AIS Commissioned Research

Details of each of these are provided below.

1. AIS Research Summaries

The Link provides short summaries of high quality, relevant and interesting research findings, providing readers with succinct and practical information to help inform practice. 

Link 7 thumbnail.JPGIssue 7: What is school climate?

School climate impacts all members of a school community. It is a major factor in student academic achievement and mental health and wellbeing, and teacher efficacy, wellbeing and job satisfaction. 

Link 6 thumbnail.pngIssue 6: Motivation, goals and high expectations

Supporting students' motivation and goal setting, and having high expectations of them, are proven approaches for generating and maintaining student engagement.

Link 5 Thumbnail.jpgIssue 5: Data informed practice

Effective data use by educators can improve student academic, social and emotional learning. Data informed practice is a systematic way of engaging with data for this very purpose. 

Link 4 thumbnail.pngIssue 4: The significance of teachers' adaptability

Recent research examines the centrality of teacher adaptability in teacher daily practice, and its impact on wellbeing, work commitment and student outcomes. 

Link 3.jpgIssue 3: Quality learning and teaching in primary science and technology

A summary of the AIS Education Research Council commissioned literature review investigating effective learning and teaching of science and technology in primary schools.

Link 2.jpg Issue 2: Managing attention span in the digital age

Students are immersed in a world that places significant demands on their attention and impacts their learning. This issue provides a synthesis of the current research.

Link 1.jpgIssue 1Social and emotional skills are vital for academic success, w ellbeing and social progress

An overview of the OECD's 2015 report  Skills for Social Progress: The Power of Social and Emotional Skills


The Brief provides more in-depth summaries of research findings, as well as updates on AIS initiatives.

Brief 3 image.pngNo. 3: AISNSW School based research project update summarises the progress of the seven schools that began their AISNSW School Based Research Projects in 2015. 

​​Brief 2 thumbnail.png No.2: Inquiry learning networks and spiral of inquiry are considered one of the most impactful examples of professional learning. This B rief provides an overview of these approaches for improving teacher practice and student outcomes. 

Brief 1 thumbnail.pngNo.1: AISNSW School based research project update summarises the progress of the five schools that have undertaken the 2014 AISNSW School Based Research Projects.  



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The NSW Secondary Students' Post-School Destinations and Expectations presents key findings of the 2016 NSW Survey of Secondary Students' Post-School Destinations. The survey aims to monitor and examine trends in, and correlates of, post-school education, training and employment destinations among secondary school students in NSW. 


Are students happy.JPGThe OECD PISA In Focus #71 report focuses on "Are students happy?" and provides a summary of the PISA 2015 Students’ Well- Being survey data. Additionally, this short article discusses highlights, includes an interactive map, and provides links to the full PISA report.

Engaging students thumbnail.JPGThe Grattan Institute's Engaging students: Creating classrooms that improve learning examines the hidden problem of student disengagement, and offers a number of useful strategies. 

A marked improvement.pngA marked improvement: A review of the evidence on written marking presents findings from a comprehensive literature review of robust research. It summaries evidence on a wide range of marking practices and illuminates questions educators can ask when developing marking strategies.

PISA 2015 and Australia's independent school.pngHow Australia's independent schools sector rated in PISA 2015 examines the sector's results and discusses these in the international context, highlighting positive outcomes across the independent schools sector performance.

Lessons that matter.pngLessons that matter: What should we learn from Asia's school systems (2015) provides an interesting analysis of Asia's best education systems. This article focuses on what has been done to transform their practices so as to provide education to cultivate citizens for the 21st century. 

PISA 2015: A first look at Australia's results provides an insight into Australia's performance in scientific, reading and mathematical literacy. This year the additional domains of collaborative problem solving and financial literacy were also included, and scientific literacy was the major domain of focus. 

The New Work Mindset thumbnail.pngThe new work mindset outlines the portable skillsets, and the jobs that cluster round around them, that young people will need to develop in order to ensure their future work prospects are promising.


Digital Revolution thumbnail.pngThe digital revolution: The impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on employment and education outlines the impacts of technological innovation on current and future labour markets, and highlights changes needed in education to prepare workers for the future.   

Enterprise Skills thumbnail.pngEnterprise skills and careers education in schools: Why Australia needs a national strategy presents evidence to support the need for strategic change at all levels to ensure young people are receiving the education required to enable them to participate in a changing labour market. 

New Basics Skills.jpgThe new basics: Big data reveals the skills young people need for the New Work Order follows on from FYA's New Work Order and outlines the skills young people will need in order to survive and flourish in the changing global economy.

The OECD's Innovative learning environments report presents a wealth of international material and features a new framework for understanding innovative learning environments. Read it online here.

Innovating Ed and Educating for Innovation thumbnail.pngInnovating education and educating for innovation: The power of digital technologies and skills discusses evidence on innovation in education, the impact of digital technologies on teaching and learning, the role of digital skills and educational industries in innovation processes.

What makes a learning org thumbnail.pngWhat makes a learning organisation? A guide for policy makers, school leaders is a concise summary providing practical guidance to school staff, (local) policy makers and other stakeholders who want to transform their schools into learning organisations. (See full Working Paper below.)

What makes a school.png
What makes a school a learning organisation?  provides an analysis of the literature on learning organisations and identifies their seven over-arching aspects. This Working Paper provides guidance to schools on how they can transform into authentic learning organisations.  

Moments of choice thumbnail.pngMoments of choice research report investigates young people's career choice decision making processes and how they are attempting to navigate a swiftly changing labour market. Results highlight the need for supporting informed choice, and what that might look like for young people. 

STEM 2026 thumbnail.pngSTEM 2026 A vision for innovation in STEM education summarises recommendations from experts and thought leaders in STEM on approaches to teaching and learning that work, as well as challenges and opportunities for innovation that come with teaching for the future.

The Horizon Report 2016 K-12 Edition  thumbnail.JPG
The Horizon report: 2016 K-12 e dition charts what is on the five-year horizon for school communities, outlining worldwide trends, technologies and challenges which may impact on educational change. The report is accompanied by a Toolkit  providing ideas and resources to engage your community. 

Education at a Glance 2016 [Thumbnail].pngThe 2016 education at a glance: OECD indicators  report offers a rich, comparable
and up-to-date array of indicators that reflects a consensus among professionals on how to measure the current state of education internationally.

Skills for a changing world thumbnail.pngThe Skills for a changing world report seeks to identify how a new generation of skills can best be developed and enhanced in young children and students so they can navigate education and work in the face of changing social, technological, and economic demands.

Moving from compliance to agency thumbnail.pngMoving from compliance to agency: What teachers need to make professional learning work discusses what schools and systems
can do to improve teacher agency so that
teachers can continue to develop their craft and support students to learn well.

2016 NAPLAN thumbnail.jpgACARA's 2016 NAPLAN summary data provides a summary comparison of this year's results compared to those attained in 2008, indicating significant growth. 

futility of PLC lite.pngThe futility of PLC Lite urges schools to avoid labelling themselves as a Professional Learning Community (PLC) without seriously committing to the substance of PLC processes. When properly executed and sustained, PLCs can deliver dramatic improvements in teaching and learning.

PEHWARIPS.pngPromoting emotional health, well-being and resilience in primary schools is a synthesis of an extensive body of research examining school-based strategies for promoting the emotional health, well-being and resilience of primary school students. 

BDIIDL.pngThe Building global interest in data literacy: A dialogue reports the insights from a global expert panel on the meaning of data literacy and analytical thinking, and how this might be taught to students across their school careers. 

Trends in education 2016.pngThe OECD's Trends shaping education 2016 report provides an overview of key economic, social, demographic and technology trends and raises pertinent questions about their potential impact on education. Read it online here

TAS thumbnail.pngThe Analysis and research into co-education in Australia and the UK review is an comprehensive backgrounding of issues and factors that inform the debate about single sex or co-education schooling. 


ACER 5 thumbnail.png In Policy insights: Five challenges in Australian school education Geoff Masters discusses the need to be clear on the current state of Australian education in order to effectively address challenges in boosting student performance. 

Making STEM a Primary Priority image.pdf.jpg
Making STEM a primary priority discusses the practical steps to improve the quality of science and mathematics teaching in Australian primary schools. 


Widening gaps thumbnail.pngWidening gaps: What NAPLAN tells us about student progress discusses the results of its latest analysis, highlighting growing learning and achievement gaps, and what this means for students.

Literature review on bullying thumbnail.pngA review of the literature (2010-2014) on student bullying by Australia's Safe and Supportive School Communities Working Group synthesis es the research literature to provide a clear understanding of bullying and its occurrence in Australian Schools.  A snapshot can be accessed here. 

ACWP - Are the kids alright.pngAre the kids alright? Young Australians in their middle years is the final report of the Australian Child Wellbeing Project. It focuses on four key factors influencing young people's wellbeing: hunger and severe deprivation, missing school, experience of pressure from schoolwork, and support networks.

Tough choices.pngTough choices: The real reasons A-level students are steering clear of science and maths investigates drivers for student subject choices in the senior years of schools, and reveals new evidence of importance for educators. 

the state of reconciliation in Australia.jpgThe state of reconciliation in Australia: Our history, our story, our future  highlights what has been achieved under the five dimensions of reconciliation: race relations; equality and equity; institutional integrity; unity; and historical acceptance; and makes recommendations on how we can progress reconciliation into the next generation.

critical math.jpgCritical maths for innovative societies: The role of metacognitive pedagogies examines a number of published studies on mathematics education that try to understand which education and skills are appropriate for innovative societies (read online).

schools redesigned.jpg Schooling redesigned: Towards innovative learning systems is the OECD's latest publication examining different ways to innovate pedagogies, learning systems and environments in order to improve student futures (read online).

ReadytoBeCounted_Release.jpgReady to be counted: The research case for education policy action on non-cognitive skills presents the research case for the importance of non-cognitive competencies to success in academics, career, and well-being.   

National STEM School Education Strategy.jpg
National STEM School Education Strategy documents a comprehensive plan for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education in Australia.


gender equality.jpg
Trends shaping education 2015: Spotlights 7 - Gender equality.  This Spotlight takes a look at the issue of gender equality both in society and in the educational field across the OECD countries. 

Inclusive learning - Dusseldorp Forum.jpg
The case for inclusive learning systems -Building more inclusive learning systems in Australia is about engaging more young people in learning through systems designed to work for them.

NAP ICT Report.jpgNational Assessment Program - ICT literacy Years 6 & 10: Report 2014 provides a summary of student results on the latest ICT knowledge and skills tests, as well as student perceptions and use of ICT in schools and at home.

How are young people faring.jpgHow are young people faring in the transition from school to work? This Foundation for Young Australians report card examines how young people are faring in the transition f rom school to work and how prepared they are for the future economy.

Educational Opportunities in Australia 2015.jpgEducational opportunity in Australia 2015 report "draws together information on the opportunities being provided to young Australians as they negotiate the various stages of education and training and attempt to establish themselves in the workforce during their transition to adulthood."

What works in education.jpgWhat works best in education: The politics of collaborative expertise is the second of John Hattie's linked essays examining how to leverage educator expertise in collaborative contexts in order to improve student learning.

What doesn't work in education.jpg What doesn't work in education: The politics of distraction is the first of John Hattie's linked essays examining the distracting narratives and subsequent fixes that fail to make a difference in improving student education outcomes. 

The new work order .jpg The new work order report discusses the need for an innovative and entrepreneurial generation of workers to meet the challenges of a changing labour market.  


Students computers and learning.jpg Students, computers and learning is an international analysis of the digital skills of students, and the learning environments designed to foster these skills. It reports on student capacity, and the impact of computer use on student learning outcomes.

reassessing assessment.jpg Re-assessing assessment examines developments in assessment around the world, and highlights cases of innovation and best practice. 

outlines seven evidence-backed themes in educational practice that educators can focus on to improve student outcomes.

Targeted teaching.jpgTargeted teaching: How better use of data can improve student learning outlines how educators can effectively use  student achievement and progress data to improve student outcomes through targeted teaching. 

Better systems.jpgBetter systems, better changes: A review of research and practice for prevention and early intervention report is a synthesis of the factors th at promote positive child development and enable effective prevention and early intervention at a system-wide level. 


toolkit.png The Australian Teaching and Learning Toolkit is an accessible summary of educational research, providing evidence-informed guidance for those looking to implement change to improve student educational outcomes.

NSW Sec Students destinations .jpgNSW secondary students' post-school destinations and expectations Annual Report   presents results from an examination of trends in post-secondary education, training and employment for NSW secondary school students.


Pollinate destinations.png Prospective undergraduate university students in NSW 2013 commissioned by University of Sydney reports into current student attitudes about, and decisions regarding, tertiary education.


3. AIS Commissioned Research

The AIS Education Research Council, AIS Institute and AISNSW collectively or individually commission research which seeks to assist independent schools to continue providing educational outcomes of the highest quality for students. Below are the latest research reports. 

UTS casestudy thumbnail.pngCase study report: Quality learning and teaching in primary science and technology presents findings from six case studies conducted in NSW independents primary schools, focusing on effective teaching practices. 

innovation for global excellence.jpgInnovating for global excellence aims to prompt important conversations about challenging and supporting our high potential learners, and to inspire the nation to imagine new possibilities as educators strive to transform current practice and innovate for Australia's future. 


UTS lit rev thumbnail.jpgQuality learning and teaching in primary Science and Technology: Literature review addresses the broad research question "What characterises quality teaching and learning in primary science and technology?"


languages report.jpg Exploring effective language programs in NSW Independent Schools explores the factors that make language programs effective and sustainable.



assessment thumbnail.PNG
The Assessment for, as and of learning infographic summarises these three important approaches to assessment, and provides hints on how to incorporate them into your teaching practice.

What is educational data thumbnail.jpgThe What is educational data? infographic introduces the four types of data educators can find and use in their practice.

The 7 principles of learning were developed from The nature of learning: Using research to inspire practice (OECD, 2012) to help guide the development of learning environments for the 21st century.

The Data informed decision making cycle supports educators as they make use of data within their varying educational contexts. 

 AISNSW Institute Research

The q​ualities parents value in choosing a school: The research previews a range of findings examining the school features that parents value and whether these actually lead to better outcomes for students. A Key points summary and more detailed Research briefing are available below. 

Qualities parents value in choose a school Summary.png

The qualities parents value in choosing a school: The research - ​Key points

Qualities parents value in choose a school Briefing.png

The qualities parents value in choosing a school: The research - ​Research briefing

Academic achievement in NSW independent schools, an analysis of the 2012 PISA results, shows that the achievement of NSW independent school students is comparable to those in the best-performing school systems in the world.  A Key points summary and the Research briefing are below.

Academic achievement in NSW independent schools - Key points

Academic achievement in NSW independent schools - Research ​briefing

Technical report: School sector differences for NSW students in PISA 2012 by Dr Gary Marks is also available. ​

 Research Opportunities

​​​​​Connecting with Schools​

Are you a researcher looking to partner with independent schools in conducting school based research? If so please email RandD@aisnsw.edu.au with a brief overview of your research focus including relevant details and information. 

National Application Form

The National Application Form for researchers who require approval from more than one educational jurisdiction to conduct research is available from the Australian Association for Research in Education website.

 Useful Links

​​NESA (NSW Education Standards Authority) (formerly BOSTES: The Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW) provides a wide range of resources, including Stage 5 and Stage 6 data.

ACER (Australian Council for Education Research) is an institutional repository of ACER's education-focused research.

CSE (Centre for Strategic Education) publishes on seminal topics in the education sector.

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) for the latest international research on all things education, including PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS data and findings. ​  

 NSW independent schools at a glance

The 2016 NSW independent schools at a glance on independent schools in NSW, highlighting numbers, growth and enrolments.
AISNSW at a glance 2016.jpg