Common learning metrics

The process of educational measurement is one of defining dimensions of educational progression and locating learners on those dimensions. Such dimensions are variously referred to as proficiency scales or learning metrics.


Learning metrics for reading and mathematics (and possibly other learning domains) could provide a basis for monitoring growth against the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015. The SDGs will be a key driver of work undertaken over the next several years by agencies active in the development sector, including funding bodies, researchers, service delivery agencies, and others working to improve educational outcomes in developing countries.

An article published in The Economist Intelligence Unit's online Perspectives magazine, written by Jeaniene Spink, presents additional context to our thinking about learning metrics.


Initial exploration of this area has been conducted through ACER-GEM. This has included preparing initial draft metrics for Reading and Mathematics.

ACER-GEM is discussing the draft metrics with partner organisations in continuation of the development work. A concept note was developed as the basis for ongoing discussion. ACER presented the underlying ideas at the UKFIET conference in August 2015 and to the USAID Global Education Summit in September 2015 amongst others.

Further development will involve empirical work to validate the metrics for use in a variety of different national and cultural contexts. Outcomes from a variety of existing assessment programs could be placed on the common metrics, working towards the establishment of tools and methodologies to enable generation of comparable measures of learning outcomes.