Australian Council for Educational Research
The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), established in 1930, is an independent educational research organisation based in Camberwell, Victoria (Melbourne) and with offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Dubai, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, London, New Delhi, Perth and Sydney. ACER develops and manages a range of testing and assessment services and conducts research and analysis in the education sector.
On 1 April 1930, two staff members, Ken Cunningham, the inaugural chief executive and secretary Mary Campbell, established ACER's first office in two rooms of the T&G building in central Melbourne. By the end of the 1930s ACER's total staff had expanded to five.
ACER was established with a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a foundation itself established "to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding". Although the Carnegie grants were to benefit the people of the United States, a small percentage of the funds could be used for the same purpose in countries that were or had been members of the British Commonwealth. The grant to establish ACER was made following a visit to Australia by American James Russell on behalf of the Carnegie Corporation to assess the state of education in Australia and investigate appropriate means of assistance.
The official title 'Australian Educational Research Council' was first selected, but then changed at the first council meeting held in 1930 to Australian Council for Educational Research, which has not changed again since.
|chief executive||Tenure||Notable contributions to education research|
|K.S. Cunningham||1930–1954||Chaired Social Science Research Council of Australia (1943–1952)|
|W.C. Radford||1955–1976||Edited Review of Education in Australia (1939–1964); Chaired committee to review of public examinations in Queensland and served on committee of inquiry into education in South Australia|
|J.P. Keeves||1977–1985||Editor of Educational research, methodology and measurement : an international handbook (1997) and Issues in education research (1999)|
|Barry McGaw||1985–1998||Director of Education of the OECD (1998–2005); chair of the board of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (2009–)|
|Geoff Masters||1998–Present||Developed Partial Credit Model (1982); Undertook review of Queensland primary schools (2009);  Review of NSW school curriculum (2018–19) |
CEO ACER India: Amit Kaushik (2017–present)
CEO ACER UK: Desmond Bermingham (2018–present)
ACER is an independent, not-for-profit organisation funded through contract work, fees for services and product sales. It has more than 430 staff working in its offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Dubai, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, London, Melbourne, New Delhi, Perth and Sydney.
After an early focus on Australian education, ACER now provides a range of services for an expanding number of international clients.
ACER has official partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). ACER collaborates with UNESCO through the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the UNESCO Office in Bangkok on initiatives such as the development of learning assessments for reading and mathematics, and associated tools and methodologies, that countries can use to monitor learning outcomes to inform educational policy.
ACER also works with organisations such as UNICEF, the World Bank, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Indian Central Board of Secondary Education and the United Kingdom Department for International Development, contributing to educational evaluation and reform in a number of countries. ACER is involved in the South East Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM) project, which assesses reading, writing, maths and global citizenship in Grade 5 students in the ASEAN region, in collaboration with the South East Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) and UNICEF.
ACER research covers:
- Assessment and reporting: humanities, social sciences, mathematics and science
- Australian and international surveys
- Education and development
- Education policy and practice
- Psychometrics and methodology
- Systemwide testing
- Tertiary education
Some of ACER's work is conducted through its strategic research centres: Centre for Global Education Monitoring; Centre for Assessment Reform and Innovation; Centre for Education Policy and Practice; and Centre for Science of Learning.
ACER's research work has contributed to policy pertaining to Australian education, including learning progressions, the role of parents, the role of arts in education, teachers and school leaders, post-school education and training, tertiary students' engagement to equity in education.
A consortium led by ACER coordinated the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) from 1997 until 2015. PISA is an international assessment of reading, mathematics and science, in which more than 70 countries currently participate. ACER was engaged by the OECD to lead the first ever Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes (AHELO) and to develop all of the new literacy tasks for the Programme of International Assessment of Adult Competencies.
ACER is also responsible for co-ordinating Australia's participation in the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement's Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study. ACER has been involved in many other significant international studies and is a founding member of the Asia Pacific Educational Research Association (APERA) which links educational research organisations across the region.
In addition to research, ACER administers testing programs for scholarship selection, university entrance, psychologists and human resource management, some of which are delivered online. Tests, books and other materials are also published and sold through ACER Press for the education, psychology, human resources, special needs and speech pathology markets.
ACER is a registered higher education provider offering the Graduate Certificate of Education – Assessment of Student Learning and a Masters-level unit in Understanding Rasch Measurement Theory. ACER also manages an annual Research Conference held in Australia each year.
Well known tests
ACER develops or administers a large range of tests. Some of the more well known tests include:
- Progressive Achievement Tests
- International Benchmark Tests
- International Schools Assessment
- ACER Scholarship Tests
- ACER Certificates
- Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT)
- Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students
- "Media Release: Australian Council for Educational Research Opens Office in Dubai". Department of Premier and Cabinet (Victoria). 11 March 2004. Archived from the original on 31 March 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
- "About Us: Australian Council for Educational Research".
- "National Library of Australia Catalogue - Educational research, methodology and measurement : an international handbook / edited by J.P. Keeves".
- "National Library of Australia Catalogue - Issues in educational research / edited by John P. Keeves and Gabriele Lakomski".
- http://www.oecd.org/document/59/0,3343,en_21571361_23918823_21313339_1_1_1_1,00.html[permanent dead link]
- "Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority - Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 February 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-10.
- Masters, G.N. (1982). A Rasch model for partial credit scoring. Psychometrika, 47, 149–174
- Geoff N Masters (April 2009). "A Shared Challenge: Improving Literacy, Numeracy and Science Learning in Queensland Primary Schools" (PDF). Australian Council for Educational Research. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 February 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
- Milburn, Caroline (12 April 2010). "Taking research to the top of its class". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
- Tarica, Elisabeth (7 February 2011). "Meet the most important person in your child's schooling – you". The Age. Melbourne.
- "Arts can be key to a good education". Archived from the original on 13 April 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- Johnston, Megan (21 June 2010). "Outstanding teachers fight for recognition". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
- "School not the key to workplace success". The Sydney Morning Herald. 20 January 2009.
- Harrison, Dan (25 April 2009). "Students waver off course". The Age. Melbourne.
- Tom Greenwell. "Public funds, private schools". ON LINE opinion - Australia's on-line e-journal of social and political debate.
- "Who's who in AHELO: The governance of the project and the various groups involve".
- Schleicher, Andreus (2008). "PIAAC: A new strategy fir assessing adult competencies" (PDF). International Review of Education. doi:10.1007/s11159-008-9105-0.