The OECD review of Australia’s system of evaluation and assessment gains extensive press coverage and provides wider relevance for the education world
The OECD’s recent review of Australia’s system of evaluation and assessment has identified major strengths in what Australia has already been doing while providing a road map for improvements moving forward. But even if you’re not an Aussie, the review contains valuable lessons about evaluation and assessment frameworks that go beyond the country-specific context. The report provides comprehensive recommendations on how to balance national requirements with local needs, align teaching standards to career advancement, and use student assessment data to make meaningful improvements to schools.
On a national level, Australia is doing well overall. The review praises the introduction of national teaching standards, performance goals, and the system’s strong focus on students’ results. It also credits the school system with a commitment to transparency.
Nevertheless, striking the right balance between national policies and meeting local needs continues to be a challenge. Furthermore, the report cited some rooms for improvement, including the alignment of teaching standards with competency-based career advancement.
Almost as interesting as the review itself are the reactions from the press and policymakers. Was the review a strong validation of the government’s reforms or a critique of the way teachers are paid and tests are used? The answer seems to be: a little bit of both, with spin on each side. With press reports framing the story as both positive “International Report Validates Reforms” and slightly negative, “Pay teachers on merit, OECD tells Gillard government” policymakers are forced to answer the all important question: now what?
School Education Minister Peter Garrett said the report was “a big tick of approval” and emphasized that the government was already implementing many of the recommendations from the review as part of the new reforms. He also highlighted the fact that the OECD believed introducing teacher standards was a “major development.”
The OECD Review of Evaluation and Assessment in Australia report, main conclusions and two-page summary are available on the “Country Reviews” page of the project’s website.
The press release by the Australian Department of Education (DEEWR) can be found here.
More articles on the report from education and local Australian news outlets: