skip to main content
An exam hall with empty chairs and tables and yellow 'select' buttons on a number of them.
Image ©Shutterstock/Rushay, with graphics

ACER’s software recognised in e-Assessment awards

5 minute read

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) is a finalist in global awards recognising technological innovation in assessment.

The International e-Assessment Awards highlight practices that have a high social impact across the education sector, with ACER shortlisted in 2024 for ‘Best International Implementation’. The winners will be announced in June.

ACER’s selection centres on a significant enhancement of its software system Maple to help deliver one of the world’s largest education evaluations – the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2025.

ACER is the lead international organisation responsible for PISA 2025’s design, development and implementation, assessment platform, and data management. 

For countries participating in PISA 2025, ACER Maple is critical in collecting and analysising meaningful data on how 15-year-old students can apply their scientific, reading and mathematical knowledge and skills in life.

PISA is conducted every 3 years, and the findings are known to influence countries’ education policies as they learn from others’ success.

ACER Maple was designed to sample participants and allocate assessment booklets to help gather system-wide insights.

The software enables a sample of individuals to be drawn from a large group (an action known as sampling), and integration with assessment platforms. The process means assessors can be confident that findings will reflect the larger group.

In redeveloping Maple to meet PISA’s scale and logistical challenges, ACER was conscious of the need for trust in the data from diverse countries, to ensure it would be comparable.

The numbers from PISA 2022 indicated the challenge sampling alone posed, with more than 690,000 participants representing 29 million from 81 countries and jurisdictions.  In 2025, more than 90 countries will take part.

The result of the Maple redevelopment is a highly automated, progressive web application that has drawn positive feedback from users.

How Maple evolved for global application

Automating and simplifying complex processes made collecting and processing data more efficient, and ensured consistency and accuracy across different regions.

The redevelopment also supported transparency around sampling activities.

New features of ACER Maple include:

  • a sampling algorithm that can be configured to cater to the specific requirements of diverse education systems
  • automation of sampling processes such as sorting according to demographic data, data validation, warnings for potential issues and cross checks
  • multilingual support and right-to-left text functionality
  • deployment and storage options, including offline, local network, hybrid, and cloud-based alternatives which meet regulatory requirements for sensitive information in various jurisdictions, while offering the convenience of cloud technologies

User feedback advancing technology

ACER responded quickly to user feedback during the redevelopment of Maple, continually deploying requested features.

Improvements included a reduction in the number of clicks required to sample participants – from 30 down to about 3.

Implementation was also supported by training videos, webinars, a compact manual and a 24-hour support desk, with positive responses from users.

Effective assessment is part of ACER’s strategy to transform learning systems so everyone can succeed.  We are proud to be recognised by the e-Assessment Association in their mission to raise awareness of how technology can be used well to promote better assessments of knowledge, skills and capabilities.

Congratulations to the other finalists in the e-Assessment Awards for 2024.


More information

Learn more about ACER’s innovation in assessment with ACER Signum,  

PAT Adaptive and the PAT Data Explorer that were recognised in the 2022 International e-Assessment Awards. 

Subscribe to the Discover newsletter

Privacy policy