Ken Rowe, ACER

Publication Date



Policy activities related to outcomes and standards-based educational performance indicators and their links with growing demands for accountability, standards monitoring, benchmarking, school effectiveness and reform are widespread and well established in many countries throughout the world. While the long-term goals of school education may be expressed as the enhancement of young peoples’ access to and participation in society, as well as preparation for meeting the constantly changing demands of the modern workplace, the most direct and readily accessible measures of student and school performance are obtained from assessments of students’ academic achievements. Despite several limitations, achievement data obtained from both national and international studies have several benefits that include: (a) the potential to provide valuable information concerning student and school performance compared with other national systems, and (b) generate understandings (as well as raise questions) about observed differences among educational jurisdictions – within and between countries. To this end, the present paper presents findings from analyses of students’ achievements in Literacy, Mathematics (or Numeracy) and Science – obtained from participation in national and international studies, and compares students’ achievements at the student and school levels, and between Australia’s eight States and Territories. Implications of the findings are discussed.