ACER leads national project to support POMS
The Sector > Quality > In The Field > ACER leads project to develop national tool to assess learning and development

ACER leads project to develop national tool to assess learning and development

by Freya Lucas

February 26, 2024

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) will lead a 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.


“Supporting all children so they make good progress in their learning and development is essential to their future outcomes,” ACER Senior Research Fellow Dan Cloney said. 


“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.”


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


The first step in the project will be 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 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 (EYLF) 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 trialed 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.


To ensure that First Nations perspectives are included throughout the development of the tool Ninti One will be involved in consultation and validation, and Goodstart Early Learning will serve as a “critical friend” through the process to ensure that early childhood teacher and educator perspectives are incorporated, and that the consultation process and validation process is not burdensome for those in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector.  


ACER will also 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.

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