Research and evaluation publications

​​​​Research and evaluation publications from the Department.

Victoria's response: review to achieve educational excellence in Australian schools (2017)

The Commonwealth Government commissioned a panel led by David Gonski to undertake the Review to achieve educational excellence in Australian schools. A public submission process was undertaken to inform the Review. The submissions process opened on Monday 11 September 2017 and closed on Thursday 2 November 2017. To view the State of Victoria’s submission to this Review, see:

Victorian advancing early learning study (2017)

The Department funded the Victorian Advancing Early Learning (VAEL) study to develop and test a professional in-service model for educators, on the basis that improving the quality of educator-child interactions directly benefits children’s learning outcomes.

The study found that the VAEL model was able to improve children’s conceptual, cognitive and language skills, support effective pedagogical change by educators, and increase the level of emotional and behavioural support educators provided to children.

To view this report see:

Lifting our game: report of the review to achieve educational excellence in Australian schools through early childhood interventions (2017)

This independent review was commissioned by state and territory officials in Australia to complement the Commonwealth Government’s Review to achieve educational excellence in Australian schools.

The review was led by Susan Pascoe AM and Professor Deborah Brennan. They were asked to consider and make recommendations on the most effective interventions in early childhood, with a focus on school readiness, improving achievement in schools and future success in employment or further education.

The report finds that quality early childhood education makes a significant contribution to achieving educational excellence in schools. There is growing evidence that participation in quality early childhood education improves school readiness and lifts NAPLAN results and PISA scores. Children who participate in high quality early childhood education are more likely to complete year 12 and are less likely to repeat grades or require additional support. High quality early childhood education also has broader impacts; it is linked with higher levels of employment, income and financial security, improved health outcomes and reduced crime. It helps build the skills children will need for the jobs of the future.

To view the report see:

The views and opinions expressed in the review belong to the review and do not necessarily reflect the views of, or have the endorsement of, any state or territory government, or of any minister, department or official.

Co-location and integration strategic evaluation (2014)

The Department commissioned Urbis to conduct a strategic evaluation of co-location and integration investment in early childhood and education settings. The objectives of the strategic evaluation were to:

  • secure an evidence base to understand the impact of integration efforts to date and provide direction for future investment and policy development.
  • gain conclusive findings on the impact of co-location and integration continuum of current investments on improved outcomes for children, young people, families, schools and the community.

In addition to the final report the Department produced two complementary documents: a summary report (which is a synopsis of the findings and focuses on the six study sites); and an evaluation framework. The evaluation framework addresses one of the key findings of the strategic evaluation which highlighted the importance of co-location and integration sites to conduct their own ongoing monitoring and evaluation. This document aims to assist current and future co-location and integration projects monitor their progress towards their intended goals. The following documents are available:

Every toddler talking (2016 and 2017)

Every toddler talking phase one

The Department commissioned the Centre for Community Child Health and the Centre of Research Excellence in Child Language at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute to investigate how early childhood educators and allied health professionals currently work together in Victoria to promote better language and communication outcomes for children (birth to three); to review international and national programs and approaches that work to promote language and communication outcomes for children (birth to three); and to provide design options for the Every toddler talking research trial.

To view the report, see:

Every toddler talking phase two​

Every toddler talking will trial professional learning designed to strengthen early childhood educators' practice in promoting children's language and communication skills, and build collaboration between speech pathologists and educators. It features The Hanen Centre's Learning Language and Loving It program, leadership training, and collaborative working groups of educational leaders and speech pathologists.

The evaluation, conducted by the University of Melbourne will compare the early childhood education and care services implementing Every toddler talking with 'control group' services that do not get the training, to find out how effective Every toddler talking is. The final report will be available in September 2017.

To view the 2016  interim report, see: 

To view the final report, see:

Reaching year 12: student and school influences (2013)

The Department funded the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research as part of their Research Partnership to investigate the factors that facilitate students reaching year 12. The research found that the main predictors of school completion were prior student performance followed by socioeconomic background. Male students were less likely to finish year 12 than females and completion rates of students from language background other than English (LBOTE) were higher than that for students from English speaking backgrounds.

Child health prevalen​ce and trends (2012)

The Department funded the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health as part of their Research Partnership to investigate the changes in the prevalence of parent-reported health problems in Victorian children on entry to school between 2008 and 2012. The research found that asthma and allergies were the most commonly recorded health conditions across all five years. The prevalence of developmental delay increased slightly (4.4% in 2008 increasing to 5.3% in 2012), and the prevalence for serious accident/injury decreased from 2.2% in 2008 to 1.8% in 2012.

NAPLAN scores as pred​​ictors of access to higher education in Victoria (2014)

The Department funded the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research as part of their Research Partnership to examine the extent to which year 9 NAPLAN performance predicts access to higher education as determined by subsequent achievement in year 12 VCE outcomes. The research found year 9 numeracy and reading scores to be strong predictors of students’ year 12 VCE outcomes. Students scoring in the bottom 20% in year 9 numeracy and reading have a 9% chance of achieving an ATAR of 50 or above, whereas students scoring in the top 20% in year 9 on both tests have an 86% chance of achieving an ATAR of 50 or above.

Peer effects an​d achievement in Victorian schools (2013)

The Department funded the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research as part of their Research Partnership to analyse the effect of a child’s peers on their achievement. The research found positive and significant peer effects across all NAPLAN domains (reading, writing, numeracy, spelling, grammar and punctuation) in years 3 and 5. That is, a child’s achievement is positively affected by higher average peer performance.

Evaluating the impact of the Smarter Schools National Partnerships on student ach​ievement (2013)

The Department funded the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research as part of their research partnership to examine the impact of the Smarter Schools National Partnership (SSNP) on literacy and numeracy achievement in primary and secondary school students.

The research found that the SSNP program successfully raised student achievement beyond typical growth between year levels in NAPLAN tests. Compared to their peers in non-SSNP schools, secondary school students gained an additional 12 points in reading and 34 points in numeracy NAPLAN scores. Further analyses of varying groups of students (i.e. from different SES backgrounds) in SSNP schools, found large improvements in secondary school students compared to primary school students. In secondary schools, growth in low-SES students’ numeracy score was 13 points higher than that of students in the highest SES quartile. A similar differential of 14 points was found in reading.

Post-compulsory education a​nd training: do young people know what pays? (2013)

The Department funded the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research as part of their Research Partnership to look at whether young people (aged 20) have an accurate picture of the impact of education and training on their future incomes and occupations.

The research found that young people aged 20 were overly optimistic about their future jobs and incomes. They expected to work in much higher skilled occupations and earn higher incomes than current 30 year olds. In particular, the research found that young people without post-school qualifications had the greatest difference between expectations and realisations in occupation and income.

School provision ​​plan for the Romsey area: demographic study (2013)

The Department commissioned an independent study to analyse secondary school provision in the Romsey area. The Secondary School Provision Plan for the Romsey Area involved a detailed demographic analysis and an assessment of long-term enrolment forecasts and capacity.

Educational ach​​ievement and the allocation of school budgets (2013)

The Department funded the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research as part of their Research Partnership to analyse the relationship between student achievement and the allocation of budgets in Victorian government schools.

The research found that across Victorian government schools as a whole, the autonomous decisions of school principals have resulted in a resource allocation that is broadly efficient. Spending on school leadership and management (primarily professional learning for principals) resulted in positive growth in literacy levels of students in Years 5 and 7.