ISSR has a longstanding and successful research partnership with the NSW Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE) to build a powerful data resource from which to develop a better understanding of student engagement in the state and in Australia more broadly.

Our research aims to understand the causal relationship between engagement and related feedback data and student outcomes. Establishing causality with observational data, such as data from administrative collections or survey data, is challenging. Unlike in experimental designs, researchers are not able to randomly assign their subjects to comparison groups, or to manipulate experimental conditions before assessing the outcome.

ISSR is using a generalised latent variable modelling framework that includes multilevel, longitudinal and Structural Equation Models (SEM) as a core analytic strategy for this project. We are also employing some econometric approaches for this project and extending them to the SEM framework as required.

The ISSR-CESE partnership has been a productive model under which we have been able to respond to emerging research needs, including by providing methodological expertise on statistical weighting and qualitative research to support school improvement practices.


  • Develop processes and documentation for existing longitudinal data relating to student engagement and outcomes
  • Conduct complex statistical analysis to produce new knowledge on the relationship between student engagement and student outcomes
  • Contribute to capability-building in longitudinal research for the NSW Government


  • Data Systems based on multiple sources
  • Technical Resources for data end-users
  • Written Reports to inform government decision-making

Project team

  • Dr Wojtek Tomaszewski - Project leader
  • Dr Susan Creagh
  • Professor Michele Haynes
  • Dr Jenny Povey
  • Professor Mark Western

Project details

Duration: December 2015–June 2018

Partner: New South Wales Department of Education (Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation)

Funding: New South Wales Department of Education (Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation)

Contact: Dr Wojtek Tomaszewski (

ISSR ref: ISSR111282