Our research and partnerships

Alongside core research projects, CRADLE has established a program of research-based events to foster debate about assessment matters. These include seminars and webinars, workshops, symposia and conferences, many of which are held in association with other groups and organisations. The outcomes of these events are widely available and have helped establish an international network of assessment researchers.

CRADLE research program

As the centre is progressively established, our research program will evolve according to the key staff appointed and their particular expertise.

However, our initial program is focused on following 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

Current 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 Feedback 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

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


We seek collaborative arrangements with scholars at Deakin and other universities, in order to further our aims both in Australia and overseas. 

Senior researchers from overseas are invited to spend time working intensively with our core research team to generate projects and collaborate on publications. We've established designated fellowship status with academics committed to our research program and agreeing to meet our performance requirements.

Research opportunities

We're currently seeking PhD students in areas of priority to CRADLE. We offer key components of a doctoral program in our area of expertise.

Over time, we will develop an international network of research students working on assessment and learning. We will also pursue joint supervision of research students internationally.

Alongside full-time research students, we will enrol those who wish to undertake research on assessment in their own disciplinary area or on topics that relate to challenges within their professional areas. 

We will also collaborate on integrating doctoral students in programs in cognate areas.

Contact us

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