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Why the time is right to become an expert in assessment

Why the time is right to become an expert in assessment

ACER news 7 minute read

In the wake of the Gonski 2.0 report and with rising calls for a fundamental rethink of the way we assess learning in schools, studying assessment has become even more relevant and exciting.

This article contains information that may be out of date. In 2021, ACER commenced teach-out arrangements for the Graduate Certificate in Education – Assessment of Student Learning. For further information about this arrangement visit this page or contact

Wherever you are in your teaching career, here’s why now is the time to become an expert in assessment with ACER’s postgraduate qualification, the Graduate Certificate of Education – Assessment of Student Learning.

  1. Every school needs an assessment specialist.

Every school today needs an expert in assessment. With the recent Gonski 2.0 report putting the spotlight on assessment reform, this is more critical than ever. By studying assessment, you can take on a vital role in the school. You become the person to whom leadership and colleagues turn when they’re trying to solve assessment challenges. You can inform the decision-making process because you have expertise, insights and practical skills to back you up. And you can inject new thinking into the school. This will also put you in a prime position to take advantage of career opportunities when they arise.

  1. Make an immediate impact on your students’ learning.

Not only does every school need a specialist in assessment, every classroom needs one. As Australian Council for Educational Research CEO Professor Geoff Masters says, ‘highly effective teaching requires evidence-informed decision making at crucial points in the teaching process’.

That’s a skill you learn when you study assessment. You can determine whether an assessment is high quality or not, develop task-specific rubrics for recording student performance and use the results to establish where they are in their learning or pinpoint any gaps in their understanding of topics. You learn how to identify starting points for teaching and monitor learning progress over time – all the while ensuring all your students are properly supported, whatever their level of learning. And you have the enhanced ability and confidence to present these conclusions to colleagues, parents and students.

  1. Thrive in a community of aspiring educational leaders.

One of the great advantages of studying a postgraduate course is the opportunity to meet like-minded educators and researchers from around the world. Studying assessment will expand your professional network to include education professionals from diverse teaching backgrounds. It opens the door to new perspectives, challenges and ideas. As you study, you can learn from others, listen to their experiences and reflect on them – the good and the bad.

Holly Rose, Assistant Director of Studies at Perth’s Christ Church Grammar School, found this especially useful when she studied the Graduate Certificate of Education in Assessment of Student Learning. ‘As we all came from different areas of education, there were many different points of view to consider,’ she said. ‘Those conversations became really important and effective as a learning tool. Knowing that we were all on the same journey of wanting to improve our skills for the benefit of our students and schools, but with each being able to bring such different things to the conversations, made it really worthwhile.’

  1. Develop in-depth skills.

One of the most energising and motivating things about the teaching profession is that there is always more to learn. While initial teacher training provides you with the critical skills to succeed in the classroom, studying a Graduate Certificate of Education in Assessment of Student Learning allows in-depth investigation into the subject of assessment. You will learn critical thinking and analytical skills as well as the latest innovative approaches to assessment, which will allow you to continually improve your own teaching techniques. You can try out new strategies and evaluate your success on classroom performance – all while you study.

Marilyn Faithfull, a teacher at Melbourne’s Koonung Secondary College, said she’d been teaching for a while and recognised that she needed to update her knowledge and understanding of developments in education. ‘Assessment is an area of particular interest and I could see that building skills in analysing the performance of students was something that teachers needed to improve on,’ she said. ‘The Grad Cert has invigorated my work and given a great foundation for the next stage in my career in education.’

  1. Fast-track your career.

Wherever you are in your teaching career, studying assessment empowers you to take the next step in your teaching career. The Graduate Certificate of Education: Assessment of Student Learning will not only help you stand out in the education sector, it also puts you on a recognisable path to a Masters degree.

Why study now?

If ever there was a time to study assessment, this is it. The Gonski 2.0 report highlighted the need for teachers to understand how to use assessment to progress student learning. Now it’s up to you to equip yourself with the real-world skills to become a highly effective teacher and put yourself at the forefront of education.

Do you want to become a leader in assessment? Enrol for ACER’s Graduate Certificate of Education – Assessment of Student Learning.

Drawing on the world-leading research and assessment expertise of ACER, the Graduate Certificate of Education ignites new thinking about assessment and provides the practical techniques to make an immediate impact on students’ learning progress. 

Wherever you are in your teaching career, this course arms you with the skills and understanding to become a future education leader. Best of all, the 100% online, part-time course gives you the flexibility to study while you work, so you can put your learnings into practice every single day of your course.

Applications for the January 2020 course are open now – find out more and apply online.

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