ACER is internationally recognised as a leader in educational research and assessment, providing reliable support and expertise to educational policy makers and professional practitioners.

Our core faculty are actively engaged in a number of high-quality research and development projects, and regularly contribute to reports, policies and initiatives that help to shape education both within Australia and in an international context.

International experts in assessment

Professor Geoff Masters AO
Professor Geoff Masters AO

BSc, MEd, UWA, PhD Chicago, FACE, FACEL
Chief Executive Officer, ACER

Professor Geoff Masters is CEO of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and a leading international authority on the assessment of student learning. Over the past three decades he has written extensively on the reform of educational assessment processes, including in his 2013 report Reforming Educational Assessment: Imperatives, Principles and Challenges. He has authored and co-authored a wide range of assessment materials and professional resources, including the TORCH Tests of Reading Comprehension, the Developmental Assessment Resource for Teachers (DART) and the Assessment Resource Kit (ARK). Prof Masters has been a prolific contributor to the international literature on assessment, with many of his articles now available online. He was chair of the Technical Committee of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement; was closely involved in the introduction of literacy and numeracy tests throughout Australia; co-authored the first national report on literacy levels in Australian primary schools; and has provided advice to national and state governments on assessment, reporting and certification in the senior secondary school.

Professor Masters is the Unit Coordinator for Unit 3 (Estimating Student Progress) of the Graduate Certificate course. In this Unit, students are introduced to a key step in any assessment process: drawing conclusions about where learners are in their learning from observations of their performances on assigned tasks. This Unit builds on Unit 2 in which students consider a variety of methods for gathering observations about student learning and considerations in using these different assessment methods. Unit 3 introduces the concept of a conclusion (or inference) about the point an individual has reached in his or her learning – a conclusion that can be either numerical or based on teacher judgement. In either case, an on-balance decision is required. The Unit also provides a basic introduction to the reporting of results from different tests on a learning progression and outlines common errors and biases that need to be managed in making judgements about where students are in their learning.

Researcher Profile

Ray Adams
Dr Ray Adams

BSc (Hons), DipEd, MEd(Melb), PhD (Chicago), FACE
Head of the Centre for Global Education Monitoring (GEM), ACER

Dr Ray Adams is head of the Centre for Global Education Monitoring (GEM) at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and a leading international authority on the assessment of student learning.  Dr Adams specialises in educational measurement and educational statistics. Ray led the design and development of the OECD Programme for International Student Achievement (PISA) and managed its implementation from its inception in 1998 until 2014. PISA is perhaps the world's largest and most significant educational measurement activity.

Dr Adams has published widely on all aspects of educational measurement and has acted as a consultant to numerous large-scale assessment projects both in Australia and internationally. He is currently working with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) to develop the methods that will be used in the monitoring of the United Nations Strategic Development Goals.

Dr Adams has served as chair of the technical advisory committee for the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) and as Head of Measurement at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). Dr Adams is currently chair of the measurement expert advisory group that supports the development of Australian National Literacy and Numeracy tests (NAPLAN).

Dr Adams is the Unit Coordinator for Unit 1 (Assessment to Promote Learning) of the Graduate Certificate course. In this Unit, students are introduced to assessment as the process of locating students on a learning progression. Building upon the view that the education process is concerned with the growth of individuals, and that there is always a fundamental sense of direction and development underpinning the enterprise of education, this unit introduces the notion that the outcome of an assessment process should be a conclusion about where students are in their progress within a learning domain. Learning progressions are fundamental to this approach and the unit provides an introduction to a variety of learning progressions including their features, construction, and uses. This Unit develops the conceptual underpinnings that are required for Units 2, 3 and 4.

Researcher Profile

Academic staff

Katie Richardson
Dr Katie Richardson

BA, BTeach, MEd, PhD, GCALL
Research Fellow and Online Facilitator, Centre for School and System Improvement, ACER

Dr Katie Richardson has a broad range of experience working with both experienced and pre-service teachers across a range of educational disciplines including educational assessment, TESOL and inclusive education, as well as pre-service teacher mentoring. Prior to joining the team at ACER, she had taught for a number of years at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, at the University of Melbourne, and developed a pre-service teacher education course for a private tertiary provider in Melbourne. Currently, she is teaching for the Australian Council for Educational Research in educational assessment and at Deakin University in inclusive education. 

Dr Richardson began her career in education as a classroom teacher and a specialist EAL/D teacher. She has worked in both public and private sector schools and taught students ranging from Foundation/Prep to Year 12. Her initial area of research was in international education, particularly focusing on international student welfare.  

Dr Nathan Zoanetti
Dr Nathan Zoanetti

PhD (Melb), M Assess Eval (Melb), BSc (Adel)
Research Director, Psychometrics and Methodology, ACER

Dr Nathan Zoanetti joined ACER in 2018 as Research Director, Psychometrics and Methodology, following roles as Principal Psychometrician at the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) and Research Fellow at the Assessment Research Centre, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne.

Dr Zoanetti has extensive experience applying statistical and psychometric models in educational assessment contexts spanning school education, professional education and language testing. He has a strong interest in combining machine learning techniques with psychometrics and has an international reputation for his work in computer-based interactive assessment task design and analysis. He continues to serve on national and international assessment and measurement expert groups and committees and is currently Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Australian Consortium for Social and Political Research Incorporated (ACSPRI).

Nathanael Reinerste

Dr Nathanael Reinertsen

BA, GradDipEd, MEd, PhD
Research Fellow, ACER

Dr Nathanael Reinertsen is a Research Fellow at ACER, in the Assessment and Reporting (Humanities & Social Sciences) program of the Assessment and Psychometrics division. He works in a team developing reading and writing assessments for state, national and international clients. In his time at ACER, he has worked on a number of Australian and international assessments, including high-stakes selection tests and national assessments.

Prior to joining ACER he worked as a high school English teacher in Western Australia, in both government and non-government schools. He held positions as Head of English and Campus Coordinator at a multi-campus private school which highlighted for him how important sound assessment methods and moderation practices are for schools.

Researcher Profile

Dr Alvin Vista
Dr Claire Scoular

BSc, MSc, PhD
Research Fellow, ACER

Dr Scoular's work focuses on the improvement of assessment practices through the application of psychological measurement. Specifically, her expertise revolves around the assessment and teaching of 21st century skills. She has worked with numerous countries to identify and bridge the gap between their assessment, curriculum, and pedagogy in relation to skills. In particular, she has worked with many developing countries to review and develop curriculum documentation, develop classroom-based assessment tools and generate teaching resources for skills including problem solving, collaboration, learning in digital networks, critical thinking, creative thinking, and self-regulation. She has been an active lecturer for many years and has developed courses in both traditional formats and online formats, including both the design of the content, and the assessment tasks.

At the University of Melbourne, her PhD identified a measurement methodology of 21st century skills through automated scoring and test delivery systems. Her experience in psychometric assessment, intervention work and research spans across the UK, the Asia-Pacific, and South America. She has undertaken consultancies for UNICEF, WorldBank, The Brookings Institution, and UNESCO. Dr Scoular has been a Keynote Speaker on multiple occasions, and recently served as a presenter and mentor to delegates at the Y20 Youth Summit.  

Researcher Profile

Dr Pauline Taylor-Guy
Professor Pauline Taylor-Guy

BA (Hons), PGCE, PhD
Director, Centre for School and System Improvement, ACER

Professor Pauline Taylor-Guy is the Director of the Centre for School and System Improvement and has oversight of ACER’s postgraduate and professional learning courses. She has over 30 years’ experience as a teacher, principal and educational leader in the UK, Africa and Australia.

Prior to joining ACER in early 2016, Professor Taylor-Guy held a range of academic leadership roles in the Higher Education sector. She has an extensive publication record in the scholarship of teaching and learning and a particular interest in professional learning, education policy, and language and literacy learning. She is the recipient of a number of teaching and research awards including an ALTC citation for outstanding contribution to student learning and reviews for a series of prestigious education journals and organisations. She has been the elected Secretary of the Australian Teacher Education Association since 2010 and a life member of the volunteer teacher education organisation Teachers Across Borders.

Researcher Profile

Dr Zachary Watts
Dr Zachary Watts

BAppSci, GradDipEd, PhD
Research Fellow and Test Developer, ACER

Dr Zachary Watts is a Research Fellow at ACER, working in the Assessment and Psychometric Research division. He came to ACER with a background in teaching, with a speciality in Chemistry and Science education, working with students from primary to tertiary levels.

Dr Watts has worked on item writing and test design for state-wide, national and international testing programs, covering curriculum based tests, tests of scientific reasoning, as well as critical and quantitative reasoning assessments used to select students for entry into secondary, tertiary and post-graduate courses. These testing programs utilise the Rasch model to analyse the performance of individual items and the larger test construction in order to maximise the information that can be obtained about student performance.

Dr Eunjung Lee
Dr Eunjung Lee

Research Fellow, Psychometrics and Methodology Research Program, ACER

Dr Eunjung Lee is a Research Fellow in Psychometrics and Methodology at ACER. She has worked on numerous projects conducting psychometric analysis including test analysis and scale construction based on Item Response Theory. She is experienced in producing performance reports. Eunjung also has knowledge and experience in statistical modelling of data in educational research for national and international assessments and surveys.

Dr Eunjung Lee
Dr Xiaoxun Sun

BSc, MSc, PhD
Senior Research Fellow, Psychometrics and Methodology Research Program, ACER

Dr Xiaoxun Sun is a Senior Research Fellow in Psychometrics and Methodology at ACER. Since joining ACER in 2010, he has lead several national and international projects with psychometric analysis and reporting using IRT models. He has knowledge and experience in quantitative research design, statistical modelling and IRT modelling of assessment data for scale construction and tests equating.

His research interest lies in the area of psychometrics such as Computer Adaptive Testing, Differential Item Functioning (DIF) analysis, Dimensionality Assessment, various IRT Models, etc. Additionally, he is also interested in the area of Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, Social Network Analysis, especially on applying data mining and machine learning technology to the educational data.

Dr Fabienne van der Kleij
Dr Fabienne van der Kleij 

BSc, MSc, PhD
Research Fellow and Online Facilitator, Centre for School and System Improvement, ACER

Dr Fabienne van der Kleij is a Research Fellow in ACER’s Centre for School and System Improvement. Her expertise is in educational assessment, feedback to improve student learning, educational design, educational psychology and school improvement. She has a particular interest in feedback effectiveness from the student perspective. Dr van der Kleij is currently teaching for the Australian Council for Educational Research in educational assessment.  

Prior to joining ACER in late 2020, Dr van der Kleij worked in academia, where she conducted research into educational assessment and feedback to improve student learning. She undertook a PhD in computer-based feedback at Cito Institute for Educational Measurement (the Netherlands), where she also worked on various assessment-related projects. Dr van der Kleij has internationally recognised expertise in educational assessment and feedback. She has published extensively in academic and professional outlets and has presented at major international educational assessment conferences.  

Student support

Irene Wang
Irene Wang

Project Officer, Centre for School and System Improvement, ACER

Irene Wang has over 20 years’ experience in administration and customer service in a range of industries including higher education, logistics and banking and finance. Her favourite is higher education and she is thrilled and proud to be part of ACER.

Irene will happily assist you with any student administration enquiries.