Ken Rowe, ACER

Publication Date



Background paper to keynote address presented at the Combined LDA, RSTAQ & SPELD Associations Conference1 Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, 21-22 September 2007


Following a brief discussion of the fundamental importance of monitoring growth, this paper draws from emerging findings from evidence-based research and ‘state-of-the art’ practice in assessment and reporting of students’ developmental and learning progress – whether or not students experience learning difficulties. The monitoring of individual progress over time requires both diagnostic and developmental assessments of such progress on well-constructed scales (or ‘maps’) that are qualitatively described. The use of such ‘maps’ enables early detection of potential ‘risk factors’, and the monitoring of both individuals and groups across the years of schooling. Such ‘maps’ and their reporting products constitute major aids in: (a) the integration of assessment into the teaching and learning cycle, (b) assisting children and adolescents to take ‘ownership’ of their learning and achievement progress, and (c) communicating with parents and other interested stakeholders. The paper concludes by arguing that since teachers are the most valuable resource available to any school, there is a crucial need for capacity building in teacher professionalism in terms of what teachers should know and be able to do. These include: (1) knowledge gained from quality assessment, and (2) teaching practices that are demonstrably effective in assisting ALL students to grow, informed by findings from evidence-based research.