Domestic projects & partnerships

Supporting vulnerable children in the Face of a pandemic

Professor Janet Clinton’s report Supporting Vulnerable Children in the Face of a Pandemic focused on factors that would impede access to quality education and outlines models of support and recovery that evidence suggests are useful.


The report received widespread media coverage in the mainstream media, including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, SBS, 7 News, 9 News and The Australian

Exploring digital teaching and learning in the Master of Teaching (Secondary) 
Online Class

A new report written by Dr Amy McKernan and  Associate Professor Mark Selkrig with Dr Kate Coleman, Dr Nicky Dulfer, Dr Lisa McKay-Brown, Kira Clarke, Peter Anstee, and Matthew Cunnane piloted a professional learning community working with a range of online teaching approaches in their subject and sharing their experience with each other.


The report included an audit to help inform the current understanding about the varying approaches to online learning at MGSE. 


Professors Jan van Driel and Liz McKinley have been awarded ARC grants led by other universities.


Professor Jan van Driel will work alongside Professors Amanda Berry and Colleen Vale from Monash University, and Associate Professor Wanty Widjaja and Dr Lihua Xu from Deakin University on the project titled Primary teachers' adaptive expertise in interdisciplinary maths and science. The project received $291,422 in grant funding and will be led by Monash University.


Professor Liz McKinley will collaborate with Professors Rhonda Craven and Alexander Yeung from Australian Catholic University ACU, along with key researchers from Charles Darwin University and The University of Queensland on a $771,651 grant titled Deadly Start: Enabling Preschoolers’ Literacy, Numeracy and Wellbeing. The ACU team are leading the project, which will span three years.

ARC Discovery grants

Professor Johanna Wyn and her team from MGSE, Professor Helen Cahill, Associate Professor Hernan Cuervo and Dr Jenny Chesters, along with Associate Professor Dan Woodman (Faculty of Arts) and Dr Julia Cook (The University of Newcastle), were awarded in excess of two million dollars for their project titled Young people shaping livelihoods across three generations.

The project will add a third cohort to the Life Patterns longitudinal research program (which has previously been supported by ARC funding). The investment in cohort three will create an unprecedented three-generational longitudinal database on the trajectories of Australians. The project is one of the first of its kind internationally and explores the impact of social change across multiple life domains, time and generations.

Next Level Social Skills project selected for research translation accelerator
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Dr Matthew Harrison and his team's Next Level Social Skills is MGSE's first project in the  Translating Research at Melbourne (TRAM) program, the University of Melbourne’s research translation accelerator. The course is designed to develop entrepreneurial thinking and maximise the commercial impact of research-based projects.


Next Level Social Skills is a social skills program that builds on Matt Harrison’s PhD research, using cooperative video games as tools for social learning. The program enhances understanding of the current needs of children and young adults with lived experiences of neurodiversity, as well as the needs of their families.

A key goal of the program is to hire autistic young adults to help run the program. In order to develop the business skills we needed to make our vision a reality Jess and I completed the Translating Research at Melbourne (TRaM) 'Track' and 'Runway' programs. These progra

Assessment Research Centre NAPLAN 2022 project

The Assessment Research Centre was awarded a contract by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority to develop numeracy and reading items for NAPLAN’s online assessment in 2022. The Centre is working with experts in MGSE’s Mathematics Education Group and Language and Literacy Hub to develop a total of 341 items for Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. The project commenced in August 2020 and will conclude in May 2021. 

Funding awarded to Tricia Eadie and Research in Effective Education in Early Childhood Hub
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Professor Tricia Eadie and the Research in Effective Education in Early Childhood (REEaCh) Hub were awarded an early childhood development grant from the Ian Potter Foundation. The grant provides approximately $360,000 for the 'Learning from the COVID-19 crisis in early childhood education: Educator wellbeing and family engagement practices' project – a partnership between the REEaCh Hub at MGSE, the Centre for Community Child Health at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and Goodstart Early Learning. 

Learner Profile Project 2020 

The Assessment Research Centre is working with the Association of Independent Schools in South Australia (AISSA), Catholic Education South Australia (CESA) and South Australian Secondary Principals’ Association (SAPSA) on the Learner Profile Project 2020.


The project provides practical assistance to schools who are looking to ‘recognise learning both with, and beyond the ATAR’. Participating schools explore the Learner Profile and its potential as a transformative model. They investigate practical strategies to develop, assess and recognise student attainment, and then create assessments that are valid, reliable and authentic. 

Dr Sophie Rudolph awarded 2021 ARC DECRA

Dr Sophie Rudolph has been awarded a 2021 Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) for her project Examining the social, historical and political effects of school discipline. The project aims to examine the history and socio-political context of the school element of the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ in Victoria through an examination of school discipline. 

Orbis – South Australian Partnership

The Graduate School staff continued with its partnership with Orbis through 2020. Orbis provides professional learning for South Australia’s public school and preschool educators to support them in developing their teaching expertise and educational leadership.


Over the course of 2020, MGSE staff delivered four professional learning programs across eight cohorts of educators. The programs began face-to-face before being adapted to online delivery due to the COVID-19 pandemic. MGSE staff also co-designed three new programs with Orbis, which are bring piloted in 2021. These include Preschool Literacy, Preschool Numeracy and Literacy years 3-6.

A post-coronavirus pandemic world
for higher education

Dr Gwilym Croucher and Professor William Locke authored a discussion paper summarising the factors and emerging trends for higher education following the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the responses of providers and governments. 

New collaboration between Assessment Research Centre and Research in Effective Education in Early Childhood Hub

The Assessment Research Centre (ARC) and the Research in Effective Education in Early Childhood Hub (REEaCH) won a joint bid to the Department of Education and Training to design a fit-for-purpose assessment tool to support the learning development of children aged 2 to 6 years.


The tool will be delivered online and will support Victorian early childhood teachers and educators to observe, document and assess each child’s progress in learning, develop more intentional individual learning plans and improve information sharing between kindergarten services and schools.


The collaboration between the ARC and REEaCH provided the opportunity for MGSE to present a unique response, combining expertise across early childhood pedagogy, assessment for learning, psychometrics and professional learning. The project is being led by Associate Professor Jane Page and  Dr Toshiko Kamei under the direction of Professor Tricia Eadie and Jayne Johnston.

Leaper Foundation renews support for the Research in Effective Education in Early Childhood Education  Hub

The Leaper Foundation has generously agreed to support the REEaCh hub for another three years (2021-2023). Jenny and John Leaper have pledged a donation of $2,268,000. The foundation provided the seed funding ($1.5m) in 2018 to establish the Hub. Since that time, the REEaCh Hub has established the Early Childhood Professionals Research Network and has generated $2.23m in additional grants and funding.

Matt Harrison, Lorraine Graham and Anthea Naylor win project funding

Dr Matt Harrison, Professor Lorraine Graham and Anthea Naylor were awarded funding from the COVID-related research in the humanities, arts and social sciences seed fund scheme. 


The project looks at barriers facing students who have transitioned to online or remote schooling due to COVID, including those of students with disabilities. The project builds on existing research into video modelling and extends the emerging evidence-based practice to students with complex needs accessing remote education. 

Melbourne MicroCert incentive funding outcome 

Dr Marian Mahat was awarded $25,000 Melbourne MicroCert incentive funding for her program Leading Change in Learning Environments, which includes four Microcerts: Learning in Innovative Spaces, Teaching in Innovative Spaces, Teachers’ Transition to Innovative Spaces, and Schools’ Transition to Innovative Spaces.


A partnership between the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning Building, the program will help educators better utilise innovative learning spaces to meet the learning needs of 21st century students. The first two subjects - Teaching in Innovative Spaces and Learning in Innovative Spaces - have been developed and will run in February 2021.

Victorian Government renews support for the Master of Teaching (Secondary) Internship program
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The Graduate School has signed a new two-year agreement with the Victorian Government to provide support for the Master of Teaching (Secondary) Internship (MTSI) program.


Part of the Teach the future campaign, the initiative aims to fill hard-to-staff positions in schools and help working professionals move into a teaching career. The Graduate School provided Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) to students in government schools in regional and rural areas in the November 2020 intake of the program. In future intakes, interns in eligible government schools will also receive CSPs, making it more affordable for students.


A total of 50 interns commenced the MTSI program on 23 November and will start teaching in schools at the beginning of the school year. 

Nicky Dulfer wins research from the Melbourne Social Equity Institute Seed funding

Nicky Dulfer and her team were awarded funding through the Melbourne Social Equity Institute Seed (MSEI) Funding Scheme 2020 for their project ‘Understanding Digital Divisions’.


The MSEI supports collaborative research between academics, members of community organisations, policymakers, and people with lived experiences, which helps build fairer societies.

The quarantine archives: Educators in social isolation

In March 2020, a few weeks into the first closing down of common spaces in Victoria, the Social Transformation and Education Research Hub published The quarantine archives: educators in social isolation on Emerald Insight


Collectively written by twelve academics, the paper was an attempt to engage in the COVID-19 moment, moving beyond the slogan ‘we are in this together’, and instead contemplating the implications of what it means to be given an opportunity to alter the course of history.

Teaching Tool for Kindergartens (Assessment for Learning Tool project)

The Department of Education and Training (DET) and the Assessment Research Centre (ARC), in partnership with the Research in Effective Education in Early Childhood Hub (REEaCh), are developing a new teaching tool for kindergartens. The tool will support early childhood teachers in three- and four-year-old kindergarten programs, enabling them to effectively observe and assess kindergarten children’s learning, and identify program improvements.  


The project began with a testing phase, which is nearly complete, to adapt the current Early ABLES assessment tool so that it was valid for use by kindergarten teachers developing children aged two to six years. Approximately 120 early childhood teachers and leaders were engaged in this phase.


The next stage of the project is a pilot phase involving around 50 Victorian Kindergarten services. The pilot phase will determine how easy the tool is for educators to use, what professional learning and support is required, and its impact on teaching practices.


The project commenced in June 2020 and will conclude in 2023.

General Capabilities Framework Report

In June 2020, the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) commissioned the development of a General Capabilities Framework for the Tertiary Education Sector, as part of the Tertiary Learning Repository initiative announced in the 2019-20 Budget. The framework was developed by the Assessment Research Centre (ARC) at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, in partnership with Nous Group and DESE.

Victorian Aspiring Principal Assessment

On another note, if there is any media interest or enquires that emerge in the near future in relation to the Victorian Aspirant Assessment Program, which is being mandated for all school principal appointments in government schools in 2022, please keep me in mind as the MGSE contact. 


Associate Professor Shelley Gillis has been leading a team to design the assessment and reporting system of the Victorian Aspirant Assessment Program project, a joint venture between the Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership and MGSE.


The Graduate School recently signed another contract with Bastow to conduct follow-up work to bring standards of different assessors into alignment before it is mandated for all school principal appointments in government schools in 2022.

AXA Research Foundation funding for Jon Quach

Dr Jon Quach was awarded a $300,000 AXA COVID-19 rapid response grant for his project 'Improving the mental health of young children after COVID-19'. He is one of only 10 worldwide recipients of this award.

The project will ‘address the modifiable determinants of child developmental and mental health inequities’ to ascertain whether current mindfulness interventions lead to improved long-term outcomes for students.

Phase 2 of the Gippsland micro-credentialing of enterprise skills

The Assessment Research Centre successfully secured further funding from the Latrobe Valley Authority to develop and trial a micro-credentialing system to formally recognise enterprise skills. 

Victoria’s Centre for Evaluation, Research and Evidence work with Centre for Program Evaluation
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A cohort of DHHS Victoria’s Centre for Evaluation, Research and Evidence (CERE) team members undertook study together in a number of Master of Evaluation subjects and tailored workshops.


The cohort’s coursework and tailored sessions were negotiated between CERE leadership and the Centre for Program Evaluation’s (CPE) Acting Co-Director, Associate Professor Amy Gullickson, to ensure they suited the needs of the CERE team.


The CERE team met separately each week to discuss the coursework and its application to their current projects. Acting Co-Director of CPE, Associate Professor Amy Gullickson, also provided two tailored one-hour online workshops for the whole CERE team. These sessions allowed the team to explore the underlying principles of evaluation and critically assess their current practice.

Early Childhood Professional Practice Partnership

The Early Childhood Professional Practice Partnership (ECPPP) project received $220,000 in renewed annual funding for 2021. The Graduate School’s Dr Edith Nicolas is lead researcher on the project, while Parian Madanipou and Associate Professor Jane Page fill the roles of project manager and research adviser respectively.


The ECPPP project is exploring the multiple roles that contribute to quality placement for early childhood pre-service teachers. The team is gathering insights into the experience of pre-service teachers and early childhood teachers during placement.


The research was based on a co-design model where mentor teachers and early childhood centre directors provided feedback on their current practice. This feedback then informed the development of training modules designed to support and extend the capacity of those in mentoring roles.

Learning Creates Report

Enterprise Professor Sandra Milligan and Associate Professor Suzanne Rice are members of the advisory board and project team for the new Learning Crates Australia project.


Learning Creates Australia was launched in 2020 and is an alliance of people and organisations committed to ensuring that every young Australian, regardless of where they live or what school they attend, should be recognised through a learning system that helps them flourish.


The project's first report Recognition of learning success for all was authored by Sandra Milligan, Rebekah Luo, Toshiko Kamei, Suzanne Rice and Thida Kheang from the Assessment Research centre and published in 2020.