In response to the increasing demands of modern workforce and general life participation and perceptions of poor or declining educational standards, governments around the world are emphasising the important role of education systems in developing in learners a broader set of skills that will meet the challenges and demands of work, study and life in the 21st century. In many cases this has led education systems to focus increasingly on learning outcomes as a measure of system quality in addition to more traditional measures of inputs and outputs. In refocusing the notion of ‘quality’ around this proximate purpose of education (student learning outcomes), systems have been able to set ambitious agendas on improvements in outcomes and monitor and evaluate progress against those agendas.
While substantial investments have and are being made in the VET system in data collection and analysis in regard to enrolments, costs, completions and employment outcomes and in relation to monitoring, compliance and risk management, there has been less emphasis on collecting empirical evidence about the quality of teaching and broader learning outcomes and using such evidence to support local and system-wide continuous improvement strategies.
ACER, "Using data to enhance 21st century skill development in VET Discussion paper for the Summit on Data for Quality Improvement in VET" (2013).