Publication Date



The period of this review was: July 2007 to January 2008


In order to investigate the most effective ways of assessing and reporting on the employability skills of senior secondary students, the Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) commissioned this report. The main activity was to evaluate options for assessing and reporting on eight employability skills against five criteria—validity, reliability, objectivity, feasibility, and usability—and to recommend a preferred approach. This work was undertaken by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) in the period July 2007 to January 2008, during which time the (new) Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) became responsible for the initiative. The starting point for this work was to come to terms with the eight employability skills and their respective facets from the Employability Skills Framework (ACCI & BCA, 2002). The employability skills are: Communication; Initiative & Enterprise; Learning; Planning & Organising; Problem Solving; Self-management; Teamwork; and Technology. Facets are elements of the skill that employers have identified as important, with the specific mix and priority of facets being job-dependent. One of the facets of Communication, for example, is ‘Reading independently’. As an adjunct activity to this study, the University of Western Sydney conducted a survey of the current level of employer satisfaction with the eight identified employability skills and how employers assess them (Costley, Power, Watson, Steele, & Sproats, 2007). Consultations were undertaken with employers, and representatives of parent organisations, school systems including teachers and leaders, and Australia’s three peak business organisations, ACCI, BCA, and the Australian Industry Group (AIG). An advisory group set up by DEST had the same representation. In addition, expert input was sought on detailed matters of assessment and reporting.