Developing improvement measures for students with disability and additional needs

Identifying improvement measures for students with disability and additional learning needs is an essential step for school improvement.

Measuring the impact of initiatives in the Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) is an important part of the school improvement journey. Identifying improvement measures for students with disability and additional learning and support needs is an essential element of this process.

The improvement measures identified for students in your school will be highly dependent on the needs of each student. It is very important that your situational analysis and other ongoing school practices ensure that your staff have a deep knowledge of each student.

The low level adjustment for disability is an annual equity loading allocated to support your students in regular classes who have additional learning and support needs.

The success of any evidence-based initiatives that you implement to reduce the impact of low level disability can be measured in the progress towards your system-negotiated and school-determined targets in your Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP).

System-negotiated targets

System-negotiated targets capture the growth, attainment, wellbeing and attendance of all your students.

Improvement measures in 'Strategic direction 1: Growth and attainment' may capture the NAPLAN reading and numeracy data, and HSC data, of your students with disability and additional needs who participate in these assessments. If NAPLAN and HSC system-negotiated targets are not placed in strategic direction 1, they will placed in one or both of the other strategic direction(s).

The evidence of impact for these students is included in your whole school cohort data. You may optionally slice the data by setting up custom groups in Scout or by focusing on targeted students.

School-determined targets

A variety of qualitative data can also provide a rich source of information about the success of initiatives developed by the school to best support students with disabilities and additional needs.

Ideas to stimulate thinking about appropriate strategies to further improve learning outcomes, and the evidence required to measure the impact, are outlined here.

Ideas to capture growth and improvement

Capturing growth and improvement can be done in various ways. The following ideas include, but are not limited to, student learning growth, growing staff capability, and improvements to school processes, practices and environments.

  • Using SMART goals to report on student growth.
  • Using Goal Attainment Scales to measure goal attainment.
  • Using information from screeners and diagnostic assessments to show student growth.
  • Using teacher developed tools for measuring student growth, for example rubrics.
  • Tracking student progress with the literacy and numeracy progressions.
  • Using NAPLAN results to measure improvements in student learning, for example, increase the proportion of students achieving at or above expected growth in reading.

Reflective questions

  • Do we need to adjust or differentiate to measure the learning growth of any of our students with disability and additional needs?
  • Do the measures we use reflect the personalised learning and support needs of all students?

  • Gathering measures of expertise and confidence of staff in meeting the needs of students with disability and additional needs.
  • Number of teachers undertaking targeted professional learning e.g. numbers of staff completing the Disability Standards for Education course.
  • Use of teachers’ performance and development plans e.g. teachers identifying they would like to develop knowledge and skills in supporting students with disability..
  • Number of teachers seeking higher levels of accreditation.
  • Using school developed tools for measuring improvement that are reliable and valid, for example, all teaching programs and classroom observations demonstrate embedded differentiated practice.

Reflective questions

  • How do we know that we are building the capability of staff to support the learning growth of students with disability and additional learning and support needs?
  • How do we know that we that the supports we give to staff are effective?

  • Teacher pre/post reflections associated with teacher observation and the professional development process.
  • School based data collection, e.g. numbers of students referred to learning and support team meetings, Positive Behaviour for Learning programs, ecological assessments as part of a functional behavioural assessment.
  • The NCCD Reflection Tool assists school teams to reflect on their practices and processes for supporting students with disability.

Reflective questions:

  • How do we assess the effectiveness of our school processes and practices?
  • How do we know that we are making the best use of our learning spaces?
  • What measures do we take to ensure our collaboration and consultation with parents is effective?
  • How do we measure the skills and confidence of staff in using technology to support students with disability and additional learning needs?

Learn more

Find out more about School Excellence in Action.


  • Teaching and learning


  • Access and equity
  • Additional needs
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Educational accountability
  • Health, safety and wellbeing
  • Inclusive practice
  • School Excellence Framework
  • Teaching

Business Unit:

  • School Performance – South
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