Publication Date



Academic achievement, Decision making, National programs, Outcomes of education, Reporting (Student achievement), Student assessment


Large-scale assessment programs have an important role to play in providing dependable information for educational decision making by policy makers, system managers, school leaders, teachers and parents. But these programs - which include international achievement studies, national surveys and system-wide tests - also convey powerful messages about the kinds of learning valued by educational authorities and can have a profound impact on teaching and learning, particularly if results are reported and compared publicly. For this reason it is essential that large-scale programs are designed to reflect and reinforce learning priorities. This paper argues that large- scale programs are most likely to support the kinds of learning now considered important for successful functioning in society if they are designed with the primary purpose of collecting reliable information about students' current levels of achievement, if they incorporate assessments of higher-order skills and thinking, if they include a variety of assessment methods and procedures capable of providing information about a range of valued learning outcomes, and if results are reported in ways that recognise and encourage high achievement.

Place of Publication

Melbourne, Australia


Australian Council for Educational Research