EIE701 Personalising Learning - Assessment Task Two: Literature Review

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Task Description: Literature Review

Word limit: 3000 words

Weighting: 60%

Task: There is an appetite in education to have teachers using evidence-based practice. But what is evidence, and how should we use it? Before going further, take a read of this article on The role of evidence-based practice in teaching. As stated here, Evidence-based teaching involves the use of evidence to:

(1) establish where students are in their learning;

(2) decide on appropriate teaching strategies and interventions; and

(3) monitor student progress and evaluate teaching effectiveness.

All of this points to the requirements of the learner, and teacher expertise in weighing up what might work to suit their professional context.

For this assignment, students will complete a literature review that synthesises research on how to effectively personalise learning within a positive and inclusive learning environment. Students will consider the policy context of inclusive education, and will examine literature that explores theoretical developments, student profiling, curriculum programming, and strength-based teaching strategies as they relate to the topic chosen.

Sections and marks per section:

  1. Introduction of the context, issue and its component parts = 16 marks
  2. Examination of underlying theoretical framework(s) = 11 marks
  3. Examination of legislation and policy relating to the issue = 6 marks
  4. Examination of the literature = 12 marks
  5. Conclusion and Recommendations = 8 marks
  6. Academic communication = 7 marks

You should consider undertaking each part of the criteria in sections, but bringing it all together as a report to complete the submission. What follows is a step-by step guide to undertaking this work with further details. Each of the below relates how you might apply your work to the sections of the criteria.

Section 1: Introduction of the context, issue and its component parts (16 marks)

The first section is dedicated to the identification of the problem. That is, connected to your professional context of teaching (such as primary years, secondary numeracy etc), what poses a particular challenge to including all students that moves you to undertake research? Why is it a problem, and what do you hope to learn? You will note this is the section that is the most weighted in the criteria, because you need to start a research inquiry strongly.

So what do we mean here?

The second assessment task is designed to get you engaged in research about a topic that concerns you. In so doing, it asks you to contextualise your research within your professional teaching environment, and to consider the needs of the teacher and learner in particular conditions. That is, you should be explicit about the year level and curriculum you teach, and to consider the types of learners you will have in your classroom. Chapter 3 of your text might help you here, for its discussion in particular on particular influences that can cause marginalisation before school even commences.


Once you have identified your teaching and learning context, you are asked to articulate a research problem that sits within that context. In this case, you need to identify an issue that causes barriers to inclusivity in teaching and learning within your teaching context. This problem can be quite broad, but what is important is that you identify and describe a problem to inclusivity by citing literature that supports your position. Once again the textbook provides a lot of information on problems that impact positive and inclusive teaching and learning.

Research Questions:

In this section you are also assessed on how you set research questions. That is, you will need to set an overarching research question that you will seek to answer through your review of available literature, that is supported by 1 or 2 minor questions. The point is, you want to find out something broad. But you split this into easier smaller questions that you answer specifically in order to respond to that broad question. The overarching question must include the following three elements:

  • Your professional context (i.e. primary years subject disciplines, early years play-based curriculum).
  • A particular focus that might pose an assumed barrier to full inclusion (i.e. the need to differentiate pedagogy for certain learners; a need to draw more explicitly on student voice; fostering collaborative relationships with teacher aides/therapists/families; students with anxiety; students with diverse linguistic capabilities; etc).
  • Inclusion of everyone (i.e. social participation, group work, teaching/learning experiences, differentiated instruction, and so forth).

Check this example of an overarching research question that is split into three underpinning sub questions:

How do teachers of primary numeracy differentiate assessment so that it can be made more accessible to students on the autism spectrum as well as all learners in their classroom?

  • How do primary level students diagnosed as being on the ASD work with differentiated assessment alongside neuro-typical students?
  • How can I draw on differentiated assessment strategies as part of my teaching numeracy?

You will need to set research questions that connect logically with the articulated problem and the context of your teaching focus. The supporting questions are aimed at setting a particular scope of your research.

Section 2: Examination of underlying theoretical framework(s) (11 marks)

This section of criteria is dedicated to theories underpinning inclusive education, your understanding and application of which providing you marks. You must articulate a theoretical framework, through which in reviewing literature, you will synthesise it.

What might we mean by theory?

At its core, knowledge has a theoretical underpinning. That is, all knowledge, or research, is supported by theoretical concepts in one way of another.

In terms of inclusive education, concepts such as equality, equity, power relations/imbalances, constructionism, ethical responsibility, and many others are drawn on to form the knowledge of inclusive practice.

In the three criteria assessed in this section, you are asked to articulate a theoretical framework, to justify it in relation to the issue that you will research, and to evaluate the implications of using the theories that you have chosen. Carrington and MacArthur (pp. 8-10) provide a good explanation and justification for drawing from social constructionism, discourse, critical theory and critical pedagogy as a framework that supports the knowledge presented in the unit textbook. Your own framework might draw on 1 or 2 of these theoretical concepts, but what is important here is that you consider what might be made possible, and what may be missed by drawing on the theories that you have chosen. You can draw from the theoretical material explored in this or any other unit. Be sure to cite it and provide suitable details on how it shapes your thinking and how it will support your research inquiry.

You might think of theory, in this way, as a particular toy. If you give a child a toy to play with, the type of toy that it is will always have a particular impact on how the child engaged in play. For example, if you give a child a racing car kit to play with, how they engage with it will be inherently different to how they play with a Barbie Doll.

In the case of the assignment, the purpose of using and applying theory is similar. You are anticipated to develop a theoretical framework, which you use to  situate your understanding of knowledge. As a teacher you  then apply that knowledge to practice. The theoretical framework is designed to question your literature on how it might provide for increased inclusion in your professional context. If it discussed practices that do not provide for increased inclusion, is it useful? this is the judgment you use the theory to help you to decide.

Section 3: Examination of legislation and policy relating to the issue (6 marks)

The 2 criteria pertaining to this section are concerned with your engagement with the policy context of your work.

A number of policies are in place that are anticipated to support inclusive development. We have explored some of these national and international policy contexts in the first task of Module 1 of the unit, and as well in other units. You are asked to critically evaluate these, and to consider to what extent the literature you are collecting for your review describes practices that are in line with the policy objectives, such as reasonable adjustment, developing equity, or advancing student achievement (or excellence). If you find that specific policy directives are blatantly ignored in the literature you review, than this gives you much to discuss, through reflection of why this might be the case. On the other hand, material that focuses wholly on student deficits may be in contradiction to inclusive policies and intentions.

You might revisit module 1, and chapter 1 of your text to support your understanding of how to attend to these criteria.

Section 4: Examination of the literature (12 marks)

Once you have gone through the process of selecting research questions and considering your theoretical framework in line with policy, you will then need to consider what type of literature you require to review to support your discussion. Task 4.4 of Module 3 provides further details about selecting literature. In reviewing literature, you want to be critical, which means drawing directly on the theoretical framework you have articulated for the previous section.

Why are we doing this?

The significance of published research literature is that it provides context to the body of knowledge on a particular subject. Your role in this assignment is to question what is known about a particular subject, and to sort through the material you find to reach conclusions. In developing your response to this section of criteria, you need to arrange your assignment in a way that demonstrates your capacity to critically evaluate the knowledge presented in the articles that you have selected.

This task requires you to explicitly refer to your theoretical framework (Criterion 11), to consider the ways in which the research was undertaken (i.e. the empirical research any biases faults in methodological application) (Criterion 12), and explicit consideration of your professional context through combining theory with practice (Criterion 13).

Section 5: Conclusions and Recommendations (8 marks)

This section of criteria asks of you to demonstrate how the material you have included in your inquiry has answered your research questions, and what conclusions/recommendations you have drawn from your research.

To write this section, return to the overarching research question and explain how you have answered it, through investigating explicit responses to the sub questions. Here you will need to be able to synthesise your findings into clear recommendations that fit the context of your teaching focus. That is, the profile of learners, the environment of your teaching, and the types of issues that you might face under particular conditions. It is through the development of clearly synthesised recommendations that you will be able to justify that you have responded to your research questions.

These conclusions will then support your professional context. That is, you need to explicitly articulate what you have learned from this inquiry, and how you will apply the conclusions reached to your teaching the profile of students that you have identified in the opening sections of the assignment. To do really well at this section, you will be seeking to draw from the theoretical approach you framed the research in to demonstrate strong synthesis. You will be seeking to demonstrate how inclusive practice will be made possible based on these conclusions.

Section 6: Academic communication (7 marks)

You will need to present all of the above in a neat package and submit it to the cloud drop box on the due date. We strongly suggest that students follow a systemic way of attending to the task, Ensuring to spellcheck and proof read the work, using a consistent referencing convention, and including all sections as directed. The submission is to be of 3000 words in total. References must be included, however these are not part of the word limitation.

Throughout, you should use clear headings that indicate the introduction, research problem, questions, review of empirical work, conclusions and so forth. You should present this as if it were a report in which you are applying yourself to learn about what knowledge is available on making learning environments similar to yours as inclusive as possible.

Students might like to consult the:

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