The Connection is a Collaborative Leadership Development Network, created and run by Social Ventures Australia, that has achieved educational improvements in 50 Australian schools across New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria. The network has connected 2900 educators, and benefitted approximately 50,000 students over five years from 2014-2019.
This evaluation by RMIT’s Policy, Strategy and Impact team found 'The Connection sets a distinctive example of how system-wide school improvement can be achieved, to help close the inequality gap in Australian education.'
The evaluation by RMIT found that after 3-5 years of participating in The Connection:
- Schools reported implementing innovative and effective teaching strategies and practices [Finding 6]
- Teachers reported very high improvement in pedagogical content knowledge [Finding 3]
- Many principals and teachers observed significant improvements in student engagement, student learning and development, and STEM-related learning and improvements in academic outcomes, student voice and/or agency, and metacognition [Finding 18 and 19]
- There was increased motivation to share knowledge with other schools for system-wide improvement [Finding 5]
Key insights generated include:
- Insight 1: Participants in The Connection have acquired new knowledge and mindsets.
- Insight 2: The Connection uses a shared and structured inquiry process to implement new and innovative practices in Australian classrooms, and at school and system leadership levels
- Insight 3: Overall, there are perceived improvements in student engagement, student learning and development, and STEM-related learning over the life of a school’s engagement in The Connection. There is growing evidence of the impacts of The Connection on new and innovative measures of student learning, such as student voice and agency, metacognition (ability to understand their own thought and learning processes), and general capabilities.