Monday, 9 Aug 2010

For immediate release Monday 9 August 2010
ACER to lead global higher learning outcomes feasibility study

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) is set to lead the first global assessment of higher education students’ knowledge and skills.

ACER will head a group of international organisations to conduct a feasibility study into the Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes (AHELO), run by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

AHELO is not about ranking or standardisation but rather the improvement of policy and practice in higher education independent of differences in language and culture.

ACER Principal Research Fellow Associate Professor Hamish Coates described AHELO as groundbreaking research.

“AHELO has the potential to measure how well graduates can apply what they've learned at university to real-world, practical problems,” he said.

“If feasible, it will allow us to build, for the first time, a global picture of what students have learned and are capable of doing, independent of institution, country, culture or language,”.

“With more insight on student capability we can look more closely at the factors affecting those skills, particularly teaching and learning,” he said.

More than 200 higher education institutions from around 15 countries are participating in the feasibility study.

The study will assess students’ generic learning skills, as well as specific subject knowledge in the fields of engineering and economics.

The feasibility study is due for completion in 2011. Results from the study will inform design and implementation of the full-scale AHELO.

Approximately 135 million students are enrolled in 17,000 higher education institutions around the world. AHELO is likely to be the most comprehensive global research project to measure the knowledge, skills and other learning outcomes of university students.


Media enquiries: Louise Reynolds, Corporate Publicity and Communications Manager

Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)
Phone: (03) 9277 5582
Mobile: 0419 340 058