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New project to support daily practice for preschool teachers and educators

Media release 5 minute read

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) is leading an exciting new project to develop a national tool to understand children’s learning and development and to support preschool teachers’ and educators’ professional learning and practice.

The project – to develop a Preschool Outcomes Measure – is a joint initiative of the Commonwealth and state and territory governments, and a key reform of the Preschool Reform Agreement.

The design of the measure will ensure teacher and educator workload is minimised by streamlining existing processes, enhancing the teaching experience and supporting teachers to meet existing requirements.

Preschool services, including those operating in standalone, centre-based day care, and in-school settings, will then be invited to trial the tool in 2025.

‘Supporting all children so they make good progress in their learning and development is essential to their future outcomes. Having tools to support educators’ understanding about what children can do and what comes next in a learning sequence and to support high quality practice at the right level for each child is critical,’ ACER Senior Research Fellow Dan Cloney said. 

‘That’s why we are developing tools that will make it easier for educators to monitor children’s progress and to talk to their peers and with families in a common language of learning.’

The first step in the project is to develop valid and reliable measures of children’s learning and development and to map these to descriptions of progression in two areas – oral language and literacy and executive function. These areas are essential for children to be able to communicate and to process information in purposeful ways.

These maps, or ‘learning progressions’, will be aligned with the National Quality Framework (NQF) and will make the learning outcomes in the Early Years Learning Framework more visible by describing how the knowledge, skills, and abilities within the outcomes typically progress as children grow and develop.

The new tools to be trialled will include formative assessment mechanisms based on authentic interactions between adults and children - as individuals and in small groups - to develop evidence of what children can do. These approaches are consistent with play-based approaches used in early childhood settings and will help educators to identify children’s strengths and to respond where extra support is needed.

ACER will deliver this project in partnership with Ninti One and Goodstart Early Learning. Ninti One will ensure Indigenous perspectives are included throughout the development and validation process, so that the final products that are trialled in 2025 are inclusive and work well for all children. Goodstart Early Learning will act as a ‘critical friend’ throughout the project to ensure teacher and educator perspectives are incorporated and that consultation and validation processes are not burdensome for the sector.

ACER will consult widely and include a broad range of perspectives throughout the development and validation process. Further detail on nation-wide opportunities to participate in the development process will be published on the ACER and Department of Education website shortly.

Media enquiries:

ACER Communications
+61 419 340 058

For general enquiries about the Preschool Outcomes Measure email

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