Our research and partnerships

Alongside core research projects, CRADLE has been successful in securing highly competitive grant funding to progress a program of international collaborative research about higher educational assessment matters.

CRADLE research program

Our research program has evolved according to the expertise of our key staff, and is focused on the following research areas of interest:

Assessment and learning

  • Interactions between assessment practices and student learning
  • Effects of and relationships between institutional and disciplinary cultures in assessment
  • New approaches to the portrayal and representation of learning
  • Assessment and course-level learning outcomes
  • The role of assessment and learning tasks in the development of student judgement
  • The nature of authentic assessments

Designs for assessment

  • Design of feedback processes in the curriculum
  • Designs for sustainable assessment
  • Development of learning environments that intrinsically assess
  • Cross-fertilisation of assessment practices across the disciplines
  • The use of portfolios for formative and summative purposes

Digital enablement of assessment and new learning environments

  • Facilitating effects of digital technologies on assessment
  • Critical approaches to the use of new technologies for assessment
  • Digital accreditation of learning
  • Assessment and the creation of new learning spaces and new curriculum configurations
  • Integrity of assessment in digital environments

Policy and practice

  • Assessment policy and its effects on assessment practice
  • Cross-country practices in assessment
  • Backwash effects of summative assessment
  • Strengths and limitations of common assessment practices (eg. use of rubrics)
  • Involvement of peers in assessment and learning
  • The role of assessment in preparing employable graduates in a digital economy

Theory and methodology

  • New theories and conceptualisations of assessment
  • The use of contemporary theory in assessment research
  • New methodologies for researching assessment
  • Appropriate analytics for assessment and learning

Collaborative projects and grants

Patient-inclusive learning for medical trainees

‘Enriching medical trainees’ learning through practice: towards a focus on patient-inclusive learning.’ 

Gold Coast Health and Gold Coast Hospital Foundation Large Research Grant Scheme, $99, 964

This project is led by Dr Christy Noble (Gold Coast Health), with CRADLE researcher Dr Rola Ajjawi, Professor Stephen Billett (Griffith University), A/Prof Andrew Teodorczuk and Joanne Hilder (Gold Coast Health)

Failure and persistence in higher education

‘Stories of failure and persistence in higher education.’

This project is funded by Deakin’s centre for Research for Educational Impact (REDI), REDI Large Grant, $17,875

This project is led by CRADLE researchers Dr Rola Ajjawi and Professor David Boud, in collaboration with Dr Nadine Zacharias, and Professor Sue Bennett (University of Wollongong).

Assessment for 21st century workplace

‘Preparing students for the 21st century workplace: the critical role of assessment.’

Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) Research Grant Scheme, $10,000

This project is led by CRADLE researchers Dr Rola Ajjawi, Dr Joanna Tai, Professor David Boud, with Deakin’s Professor Liz Johnson.

Feedback in postgraduate medical education training

‘Examining feedback and its effect in postgraduate medical education training.’

This project is funded by Deakin’s centre for Research for Educational Impact (REDI), REDI Industry Collaborative Development Grant, $10,000

Researchers: A/Prof Margaret Bearman, Dr Joanna Tai, A/Prof Phill Dawson, Professor David Boud, Dr Rola Ajjawi.

Contract cheating research support

‘Contract cheating research support.’

Turnitin funded research ($10,000)

Researchers: A/Prof Phill Dawson and A/Prof Wendy Sutherland-Smith.

Influence of learner identities on class attendance decisions

‘Understanding class attendance through learners’ constructions of their identities.’

This project is led by CRADLE researcher Dr Joanna Tai and funded ($7600) by Deakin’s centre for Research for Educational Impact (REDI).

The study intends to explore how students’ constructions of learner (and other) identities influence the decisions students make to attend or not attend classes.

Effective child-witness interviews

‘Determining the elements underpinning effective learning of child-witness interview.’

ARC Discovery Grant $436,018.

CRADLE Researcher Professor David Boud led by Chief Investigator Professor Martine Powell.

Becoming a professional through distributed learning: a socio-material ethnography

‘Becoming a professional through distributed learning: a sociomaterial ethnography.’

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grant, $320,670.

Project led by Dr Anna MacLeod (Dalhousie University) with CRADLE Researcher Dr Rola Ajjawi, Dr Martha Cleveland-Innes (Athabasca University), Olga Kits (Dalhousie University) and Dr Jonathan Tummons (Durham University).

Supervisory feedback and relationships for GP registrar training

‘Feedback exchanges, supervisory relationships and the educational alliance: implications for GP registrar and supervisor training and support.’

Royal Australian College of General Practice grant, $150,420

Project led by Dr James Brown (Eastern Victoria GP Training), with CRADLE Researchers Dr Rola Ajjawi, A/Prof Margaret Bearman, Professor Debra Nestel (Monash University) and Dr Cat Kirby (Eastern Victoria GP Training).

Success and failure in higher education on uneven playing fields

‘Success and failure in higher education on uneven playing fields.’

Funded by Student Equity in Higher Education Research Grants Program, National centre for Student Equity in Higher Education, $38,280

Project led by A/Prof Bernadette Walker-Gibbs (Deakin University) with CRADLE Researcher Dr Rola Ajjawi, Dr Emma Rowe (Deakin University), Dr Andrew Skourdoumbis (Deakin University), Dr Matthew Thomas (Deakin University), A/Prof Sarah O'Shea (University of Wollongong) and Professor Sue Bennett (University of Wollongong).

Promoting progression to independence through feedback for GP registrars

'From trainee to GP: The role of feedback in promoting progression to independence'

Royal Australian College of General Practice Education Research Grant, $149,928

Project led by Dr Cat Kirby (Eastern Victoria GP Training), with CRADLE Researchers A/Prof Margaret Bearman and Dr Role Ajjawi, Dr Caroline Johnson (University of Melbourne), A/Prof Joh Furler (University of Melbourne), Dr Belinda Garth (Eastern Victoria GP Training), Dr James Brown (Eastern Victoria GP Training), Dr Liz Wearne (Eastern Victoria GP Training), Jenny Lamb (Eastern Victoria GP Training) and Dr Aloechka Delamaine (Eastern Victoria GP Training).

Previous projects

Assessment Design Decisions

We're part of a team of Australian university researchers that has developed a new assessment design framework for use by teachers across the country. The framework is a tool to improve methods of assessment and have a positive impact on learning outcomes.

Find out more about this project

Contract Cheating

This project aims to investigate triggers alerting markers to student contract cheating; potential courses of action to better detect contract cheating; and mechanisms for assessment designers on preventing contract cheating. CRADLE is working in partnership with the Faculty of Health, and CRADLE Fellowship holder Associate Professor Wendy Sutherland-Smith. The project is funded through the DCVE. 

For further information:
Email Associate Professor Phillip Dawson 
Email Associate Professor Wendy Sutherland-Smith

Feedback for Learning: Closing the assessment loop

The aim of this project is to improve student learning and experience by improving the way in which the Australian Higher Education sector enacts feedback. The chosen approach will deliver a pragmatic, empirically based framework of feedback designs to guide educators, academic developers, and instructional designers, as well as institutional policy. This will be supported by large scale survey data highlighting how feedback is actually used, its impact on student experience and learning, and, ultimately, the patterns of successful feedback practices. This is a collaborative project between Deakin University and Monash University, funded through the (former) OLT.

For further information:
Email Paige Mahoney
Visit the Feedback for Learning site
Effective feedback: key to improved university teaching (Invenio)

Failure and persistence in higher education

This new project is to elicit student stories of failure and how they overcame it. It's a collaborative project between CRADLE, Deakin's Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University and the University of Wollongong. The project is funded by the centre for Research for Educational Impact (REDI). 

For further information:
Email Dr Rola Ajjawi

Student attendance and identity

This project aims to understand students’ conceptions of and motivations for attendance and engagement in higher education as mediated by their multiple identities, with a focus on the role of assessment. The project will contribute to future models of student participation in higher education, and is funded by the centre for Research for Educational Impact (REDI). 

For further information:
Email Dr Jo Tai

Contact us

CRADLE Director
Professor David Boud
+61 3 9244 5448
Email Professor Boud