On Thursday 7 November 2013 Associate Professor Margaret Brown from The University of Melbourne presented the findings of a VDEI commissioned study that investigated Individual Learning Plans for students who are deaf and hard of hearing attending facilities and schools for the deaf in Victoria.
Data were collected from three sources. The first set of data came from coordinators and principals of services and teachers of the deaf who completed on-line surveys. Second, a small group of these coordinators were interviewed. For the third part of the data collection, the students' assessment and planning portfolios were scrutinised for the level of evidence of formal and informal assessment used to generate goals for the ILP.
These goals were then assessed according to the SMART criteria (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely). Findings indicated that results of assessments were seldom used to inform goal setting.
Despite this, most goals appeared relevant and achievable, although the specificity and measurability of goals remained an area to work on. These results suggest various avenues for improving current practice through further in-service for teachers of the deaf.
Associate Professor Margaret Brown is a Principal Fellow of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at The University of Melbourne. Margaret began her career as a teacher of the deaf at a school for the deaf in Birmingham, UK. She then completed two years as a visiting teacher and five years as teacher in charge of a hearing unit in the UK. In 1978 Margaret came to Australia where she started the Victorian Parent Adviser Service for Preschool Deaf Children. In 1990 Margaret joined The University of Melbourne as a lecturer and completed her PhD. During this time she has published over 50 research articles in international journals and supervised 48 Masters and doctoral students. She has been the Chief Investigator on several large grants in education of the deaf and early childhood development. Margaret is currently the Australian Editor of Deafness and Educational International which is the academic journal of the NAATD and BATOD.