Research evaluation and development

Research evaluation and development was a critically important part of NALP which aimed to:

  • codify and explain its key elements
  • identify areas of need
  • investigate NALP’s impact
  • inform key decisions on its future.

Charles Darwin University (CDU) was responsible for the research component of the program, which was divided into two interrelated parts: evaluation and development. All of the research was conducted with the support of the NT Department of Education and Training (DET).



CDU’s evaluation program analysed NALP’s outcomes to determine its success.

The evaluation examined three main questions:

  • What are teachers’, Accelerated Literacy (AL) school-based coordinators’, principals’ and DET AL coordinators’ opinions of the effectiveness of the AL teaching method, professional development, resources and support?
  • Has the NALP implementation led to the teaching of AL in participating schools?
  • What are the student learning outcomes of the program?

Stage One, from mid-2004 to mid-2006, identified and reported on key issues relating to the implementation of the program in NT. It was submitted as the NALP Evaluation Interim Report in November 2006.

Read the pdf icon NALP Evaluation Interim Report (an overview) March 2007

Stage Two, across 2007 and 2008, focused more closely on the methodology's impact on student progress, and the effectiveness of the training and support mechanisms of NALP. The Stage Two report is not available for download. Contact the literacy specialist in your state or territory education authority or jurisdiction for more information.



The research focus for NALP is on the codification, verification and refinement of the current practice, with a number of additional research projects designed to extend the program beyond its current capacity.

In 2009, development research projects included:

NT PIPS BLA project (an early literacy assessment)

The NALP’s oral reading assessment tools (the Individual Level and Working Level) and the Tests of Reading Comprehension (ToRCH) have not effectively gauged emergent literacy skills. The Performance Indicators in Primary Schools Baseline Assessment (PIPS BLA), an early childhood literacy assessment developed by Durham University in the UK, might provide a solution to this dilemma. In conjunction with the University of Western Australia, which co-ordinated the use of  PIPS in Australian schools, CDU trialled the use of a revised PIPS instrument (NT PIPS BLA) to target non-readers in NT schools.

The research was intended to develop and assess the revised instrument to:

  • increase PIPS’ diagnostic range to assess the emergent literacy skills of non-readers
  • examine the effectiveness of computer-based assessment for Indigenous students
  • assess PIPS’ appropriateness for use with older students classified as non- or struggling readers
  • test its reliability and usefulness in remote schools.

Digital delivery of professional learning

In 2009 CDU and DET planned to create online, interactive professional development with the aim to support AL teachers in remote settings. The e-learning professional development (e-PD) program was to use the existing DET Interactive Distance Learning (IDL) software (REACT), along with social networking websites to facilitate a teacher professional learning community. Teachers would apply their new knowledge by working with a small group of students and/or individual students with specific learning needs.

Through a trial planned to be delivered fortnightly to approximately 20 NT remote teachers over one term, the research would inform the design and assess the effectiveness of e-PD. 

Assistant teacher workforce development

Assistant Teachers (ATs) are often described as the mainstays of NT education. Many ATs are longstanding members of their local community and school, providing continuity in an environment often characterised by high teacher turnover. As such, they are critical to the success of the students and any initiatives employed by the school, such as AL.

A project was planned to investigate the relationships between teachers and ATs in remote schools; and identify what types of relationships and school structures enhance and support AT practice in literacy lessons.

Detailed results of the NT Performance Indicators in Primary Schools Baseline Assessment (NT PIPS BLA) are not available online. Contact the NT Department of Education and Training for further information about NT PIPS BLA.