Education Research Solutions (ERS) was established in 2002, and has operated successfully for the past eight years. There are now 600 schools and over 7000 teachers accessing ERS programs across Australia.
The company was established because the move to outcomes based education was not accompanied by sufficient support for teachers, particularly as teachers were required to become curriculum writers.
Curriculum writing is a highly specialised process that normally takes years to accomplish. The transference of this responsibility resulted in a huge increase in teacher workload.
Also there was uncertainty about whether or not teachers were meeting the requirements as the outcomes were broad. This undermined teacher confidence and reduced professional satisfaction.
The rationale behind the establishment of the company was to support teachers in a new and difficult operating environment made apparent in the move to outcomes based education. This was done by providing teachers with content and processes that made sense of the demands put upon them and saved teachers time. This included:
- Creating curriculum design, content and dedicated educational software to help teachers plan quickly and efficiently. It was designed to enable teachers to focus on their core responsibility - to teach. Teachers are teachers and not curriculum writers.
- ERS made it much easier for teachers to meet accountability requirements. ERS connected ‘policy and practice’ particularly by aligning the curriculum content with the Curriculum Council requirements. The curriculum design enabled teachers to answer the key questions: why we teach, what, when, how, with what, so what, how well and for whom.
The underlying goal of the program is to improve the quality of professional life for teachers and consequently improve the quality of teaching – with a consequent improvement in learning outcomes.
The curriculum design included the connection of ‘curriculum and pedagogy’. Not only did the program bring the outcomes to life through explicit statements about what to teach, but also facilitated the use of sound teaching / learning processes to improve the quality of the learning experiences in the classroom.
A key feature of the program has been the use of ICT for planning, and the software has developed further to promote the use of ICT for teaching and learning. Comprehensive interactive whiteboard support materials are provided.