This is the second of the Australian contributions to the International Study on School Autonomy and Learning (ISSAL), the seven-country international research project that commenced in May 2014. Related work in Australia is being conducted for Educational Transformations by Professor Brian Caldwell with financial support from the Department of Education and Training (Australian government). This report summarises the findings of four case studies of schools in Australia that demonstrated the links between school autonomy and student achievement.
Researchers from six countries met in May 2014 to plan an international research project to investigate the strength of links between higher levels of school autonomy and student achievement. Countries / jurisdictions represented were Australia, Canada – Alberta, China – Hong Kong, England, Finland and Israel. Singapore and Canada – Saskatchewan have been added to the project. The focus is on government schools. The project, entitled the International Study of School Autonomy and Learning (ISSAL), reflects international interest in raising levels of student achievement in a context in which public schools in participating countries are operating with a higher level of autonomy than has traditionally been the case.
Case studies have / will be conducted in each country of schools that have used their increased authority and responsibility to make decisions that have led to higher levels of student achievement. Case studies in Australia have been conducted in four schools in three jurisdictions: Australian Capital Territory (ACT) (1), Queensland (1) and Victoria (2).
The case studies are intended to provide responses to the following question: ‘How have schools with a relatively high degree of autonomy used their increased authority and responsibility to make decisions that have led in explicit cause-and-effect fashion to higher levels of student achievement?’