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Research report (63)

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Re-assessing assessment

Download Re-assessing assessment (PDF, 800kB).

What gives assessment a bad name? What is effective assessment? And what innovative tools are making assessment more effective? This paper examines developments in assessment around the world, and highlights cases of innovation and best practice.

Download Re-assessing assessment (PDF, 800kB). 

Postschooldestinations2014thumbNSW secondary students' post-school destinations and expectations (PDF, 1.8MB)

This report presents key findings from the 2014 Survey of Secondary Students' Post-School Destinations. Surveys were completed by four cohorts across government and non-government schools: early school leavers; Year 12 completers; Year 10 students; and, teachers of year 10 students. The main aim of the survey was to monitor and examine trends in post-school education, training and employment destinations among secondary school students in NSW.

The following five fact sheets give a summary of the key findings from the NSW Secondary Students' Post-School Destinations and Expectations Research 2014.

Fact Sheet 1: Year 12 Completers
Fact Sheet 2: Early School Leavers
Fact Sheet 3: Career Aspirations of Secondary School Students
Fact Sheet 4: Effect of SES on Student Destinations
Fact Sheet 5: VET in Schools

literature review (PDF, 1.7MB)

This literature review (PDF, 1.7MB)  examines the evidence base for the effectiveness of tutoring interventions in maths for disadvantaged students. It explores the impact of tutoring on student achievement in maths and the elements of best-practice that are most likely to yield the greatest gains in student achievement.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Student wellbeing

student wellbeing

Student wellbeing literature review (PDF, 900kB)

One-page summary (PDF, 220kB)

Evidence summary poster for school staffrooms

Student wellbeing myPL course


Student wellbeing is an important focus of the NSW Department of Education. The department’s strategic plan, the School Excellence Framework and the Wellbeing Framework all underpin the work undertaken in student wellbeing and school excellence. The CESE literature review on student wellbeing explores how student wellbeing is defined; the relationship between wellbeing, schools and outcomes; school elements in improving student wellbeing; and student wellbeing policies in Australia.

Main findings

Wellbeing can be difficult to define because it has so many applications across a broad range of disciplines
The Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) synthesised the most common and relevant characteristics that appear in most definitions of wellbeing – namely positive affect; resilience; satisfaction with relationships and other dimensions of one’s life; and effective functioning and the maximising of one’s potential – and it produced the following definition of student wellbeing:

A sustainable state of positive mood and attitude, resilience and satisfaction with self, relationships and experiences at school1.

In education, wellbeing is important for two reasons
The first is the recognition that schooling should not just be about academic outcomes but that it is about wellbeing of the ‘whole child’, an approach highlighted in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. The second is that wellbeing is important because students who have higher levels of wellbeing are more likely: to have higher achievement outcomes at school and complete Year 12; better mental health; and a more pro-social, responsible lifestyle.

The literature consistently identifies a number of core elements that affect student wellbeing
These can be grouped broadly into the following:
• creating a safe environment
• ensuring connectedness
• engaging students in learning
• promoting social and emotional learning
• a whole school approach.
While these groupings have been distinguished for the purposes of outlining the evidence base related to student wellbeing, the categories are intrinsically interconnected and they should not necessarily be viewed as separate entities in and of themselves.

More information

  • CESE has recently released a professional learning course that allows educators to engage with contemporary literature on student wellbeing and connect it with their own practice. This online course will contribute 1.5 hours of registered professional learning for teachers. 
  • Visit the department's student wellbeing website


1 Australian Catholic University and Erebus International (2008) Scoping study into approaches to student wellbeing: Literature review. Report to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations: Canberra


Evidence summary poster for school staffrooms

To help share the evidence, Student wellbeing is available as a summary poster (PDF, 540kB)

What does the poster say?

Core elements that affect student wellbeing

  • creating a safe environment
  • ensuring connectedness
  • engaging students in learning
  • promoting social and emotional learning
  • a whole school approach

CESE's literature review on student wellbeing explores how student wellbeing is defined; the relationship between wellbeing, schools and outcomes; school elements in improving student wellbeing; and student wellbeing policies in Australia.
Wellbeing at school is multi-faceted.
Key elements are:
• positive affect
• resilience
• satisfaction with relationships and other dimensions of one's life, and
• effective functioning and the maximising of one's potential.
In education, wellbeing is important for two reasons.
• Schooling is not just about academic outcomes but about the wellbeing of the 'whole child'.
• Students who have higher levels of wellbeing are more likely to have higher achievement outcomes at school and complete Year 12; better mental health; and a more prosocial, responsible lifestyle.

State of the NSW teaching profession, 2014 (PDF, 1.2MB)

State of the NSW teaching profession, 2014 (PDF, 1.2MB) considers the extent to which NSW teachers engage in practices known to improve student outcomes, and compares the results to those of Australia and other high-performing and culturally similar countries.

What works best (PDF, 2MB)

Go to the reflection guide page

What works best (PDF, 2MB)

What works best reflection guide

What works best myPL course


This paper brings together seven themes from the growing bank of evidence we have for what works best to improve student educational outcomes. This is not an exhaustive list of effective practices, but it is a useful framework for teachers and school leaders to consider when deciding how to challenge the status quo and tackle student improvement. 

The seven themes identified as likely to make the biggest difference to our students are:

1. High expectations

Teachers can set high expectations in a number of ways, such as encouraging students to work hard, challenging them to do their best work, and to do their homework on time. High expectations are linked with higher performance for all students. The reverse can also be true. Students may achieve less than their full potential if expectations of their ability are low.

2. Explicit teaching 

Explicit teaching practices involve teachers clearly showing students what to do and how to do it, rather than having students discover or form information themselves. Students who experience explicit teaching practices make greater learning gains than students who do not experience these practices.

3. Effective feedback

Feedback is when teachers give information to students about aspects of their performance or understanding. Effective feedback is one of the most powerful influences on student achievement, and it is most effective when it focuses on improving tasks, processes, student self-regulation and effort.

4. Use of data to inform practice

The best education systems in the world use effective assessment data to drive improvement. Effective analysis of student data helps teachers identify areas where students’ learning needs may require additional attention and development; and understand which students have responded positively to the teaching approaches in their classroom.

5. Classroom management

Classroom management is an umbrella term that encompasses a broad range of strategies, approaches and actions taken by teachers to encourage a safe, positive and stimulating learning environment for their students. Effective classroom management is important for creating conditions that are conducive for learning.

6. Wellbeing

Creating a safe environment; ensuring connectedness; engaging students in learning; promoting social and emotional learning; and a whole-school approach have been identified as elements that affect student wellbeing. Higher levels of wellbeing are linked to better academic achievement; better mental health; and a more pro-social and responsible lifestyle. 

7. Collaboration 

Professional collaboration allows best practice to be identified and shared across classrooms. Effective collaboration explicitly aims to improve teacher practices and student outcomes. 

This report provides a profile of the NSW teaching workforce. It includes data that detail teachers' characteristics and experiences from entry into initial teacher education through to exit from the profession. The report provides information on both government and non-government school teachers as well as teachers in training. It has been created in response to element 5.1 of Great Teaching, Inspired Learning (GTIL), the NSW Government's plan for improving the quality of teaching and learning in NSW schools.

workforceprofile2014 updated

The Workforce Profile of the NSW Teaching Profession - 2014 update (PDF, 1MB), released February 2016, builds on data included in the previous report.

Workforce profile of the NSW teaching profession 2014

The Workforce Profile of the NSW Teaching Profession 2014 (PDF, 1.4MB) released December 2014. 


School improvement frameworks literature review (PDF, 2.4MB)

The School improvement frameworks literature review (PDF, 2.4MB) outlines best practice in school improvement frameworks internationally, and identifies some of the elements for which there is the best evidence.

Qualifications for early childhood educators (PDF, 2MB)

Responding to recent discussion in Australia, this paper examines the evidence regarding qualifications for early childhood educators working with 0-to-2 year-olds. It looks at what defines quality early childhood education for very young children, best practice pedagogy, what the literature tells us about teacher qualifications for this age group, and the qualification levels for working with 0-to-2 year-olds that apply in other countries.

Family Occupation and Education Index paper (PDF, 2MB)

Family Occupation and Education Index paper (PDF, 2MB)

In 2013, CESE developed a new measure of school socio-economic status, the Family Occupation and Education Index (FOEI), to be used as the basis of the equity loading for socio-economic background in the department’s new Resource Allocation Model. This technical report details the methodology used for the construction of FOEI in 2013.

A report prepared by CESE for the Australian Government Department of Education examining the efficacy of the various proxy measures of limited English language proficiency of the EAL/D students.

Download the LBOTE report  (PDF, 500kB).

Thursday, 04 September 2014

State of Education in NSW, 2014

This inaugural edition of the biennial 2014 State of Education report (PDF, 4MB)  brings together a wealth of data, information and commentary about the full spectrum of education in NSW. It reports on activities and outcomes in early childhood education, school education, vocational education and training and higher education. It acknowledges and reports on the complex mix of government and non-government educational service providers in all four of these sectors.

Fact Sheets

Background (PDF, 400kB)

Early childhood education and care (PDF, 400kB)

Higher education (PDF, 500kB)

School education (PDF, 500kB)

Vocational Education and Training (VET) (PDF, 500kB).


Monday, 19 December 2016

State of Education in NSW, 2016

SOE cover

This second edition of the biennial State of Education in NSW 2016 report (PDF, 2MB) brings together a wealth of data, information and commentary across the whole education spectrum in NSW. 

The report provides a recap of policy context, and covers outcomes in early childhood education, school education, vocational education and training and higher education for both government and non-government service providers. For each of the four sectors, the report highlights what is going well and where there is room for improvement.

Visit the 2016 State of Education website for an interactive view of the report's main highlights. 



Identifying high performing schools is an important step in developing the evidence base about “what works” to
improve educational outcomes for students.

Download the technical paper (PDF, 2.3MB)


In inclusive early childhood education and care services, children with and without disability learn and play alongside one another. The provision of inclusive services is widely supported on human rights grounds and on the basis that all children should have access to high-quality preschool programs.

Download the full publication (PDF, 1.0MB)



CESE’s Rural and remote literature review (PDF, 1.3MB) explores data revealing differences in educational outcomes for students in rural and remote, and metropolitan areas of NSW.

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