NSI was born of research undertaken at Curtin University, Western Australia. Our research, aimed at helping teachers and school leaders improve their learning environment and school climate, was funded by Australian Research Council grants amounting to more than $1.45 million, the result of which is our comprehensive professional learning programs and tools, which won the Curtinnovation Award in 2017. This award led to a burgeoning number of schools and education systems becoming involved in our programs, and so, in agreement with Curtin University, NSI was established to provide a service that can be accessed by schools and systems from diverse cultural and socio-economic areas.
Our programs include the provision of student, parent, teacher and staff perception data and a range of professional learning programs tailored to assist with system, school and classroom improvement efforts, using our process-oriented approach that includes capacity building, and research skill development through collaborative inquiry. NSI’s programs, the instruments we utilise and the research used to substantiate the effectiveness of our programs, has been published in quality journals, including the Journal of School Leadership, the British Journal of Educational Research, Improving Schools, Learning Environment Research, and the Journal of Educational Research. Furthermore, two books have been published based on the use of our program for whole-school and classroom-level improvement: Outcomes Focused Learning Environment: Determinants and Effects (2008) and Student Voice, Teacher Action Research, and Classroom Improvement (2014).
The power of our whole school approach lies in using reliable instruments to gather rich data for evidence-based decision-making, alongside research-informed school improvement processes tailored to individual schools’ improvement journeys. Together, our instruments and processes generate sustainable change at the level of culture to help students, teachers, and leaders, reach their potential. Importantly, improvement efforts are not fragmented or “add-ons” to the core work of the school. Instead, they become integral to the work and life of the school, ensuring efforts at the teacher and organisational levels are coherent, interrelated, and sustainable over time.