Diversity and learning in the early years of school

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This paper reports on a longitudinal study being conducted by Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and a team of Aboriginal consultants in thirteen schools across Australia, which is following the progress of a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in their early years of schooling. The data collected includes measures of early literacy and numeracy, complemented by qualitative data gathered through interviews, questionnaires and observation. The paper describes the diverse learning environments experienced by this group of children, and the many ways that schools and teachers are attempting to maximise effective learning environments for these children in their early years of schooling. The information contained in this paper is part of a larger research project. The authors wish to acknowledge other members of the research team: Pat Cummins, Paul Hughes, Natascha McNamara, Lee Simpson, Maria Stephens, Margaret Valadian, Mara West and Davina Woods. The authors also wish to acknowledge administrative and psychometric support provided by ACER colleagues, Nicole Fleming and Ken Rowe, as well as the advice and support the project receives from members of the ACER Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Advisory Committee.

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