Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (School of Education)

Schools and Centres


First Supervisor

Dianne Chambers


The 21st century has seen many changes in educational assessment practices across the world. Australia has been part of the international trend promoting greater use of assessment data to improve educational standards. This study took place within the context of a data-driven educational environment. The aim of the study was to examine how primary school teachers use the data from literacy assessments to inform their pedagogical decisions. A mixed methods study, using a purposive sample of teachers, investigated strategies used by teachers to analyse data from assessment to identify students’ abilities and use the data to inform subsequent instruction and intervention to meet the needs of individual students. The study found that while teachers’ had reasonable confidence about analysing data, they needed to improve their skills in detailed analysis of a variety of assessment data so that subsequent teaching was data-based. The study examined what interventions were most frequently employed and found that, while a wide range of strategies was used, not all of them were proven to be effective. The most common types of intervention used by teachers as a result of their data analysis were small groups, individual intervention, commercial programs and direct instruction. Effective analysis of data is acknowledged to be a difficult task. Therefore, the study also investigated what factors influenced teachers’ practices and found that the main barriers to analysis of assessment data were lack of time, lack of knowledge and lack of support. Factors that had a positive influence on teachers’ analysis of assessment data were identified as being collaborative approaches and professional development focused on data analysis skills.

Included in

Education Commons