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Measuring What Matters: Transforming Assessment and Recognition of Complex Learning Competencies

Explore assessment of 21st Century skills and complex competencies, learning the why, what, and how of new metrics in education.

3,017 enrolled on this course

  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Digital upgrade


Build capacity to assess and credential valued competencies

On this three-week course, you’ll learn how to transform assessment and recognition of complex competencies, examining how The University of Melbourne’s research-based approach to assessment and credentialling is influencing global policy and practices.

Explore current research and development in contemporary education

Guided by global leaders, you’ll examine contemporary ambitions for learners and how assessment can transform the grammar of schooling, enabling all students to thrive.

Drawing from evidence-based resources, tools, and case studies, you’ll explore the elements required for new assessments and recognition systems to be implemented effectively.

Learn how to align your learning ambitions, learning design, and assessment design to optimise student success

Accessing assessment frameworks for complex competencies in The University of Melbourne’s Ruby platform, you’ll gain experience of transformative assessment in action in your own school or organisation by trialling assessments on Agency in Learning.

With new knowledge, and a roadmap to implementation, you’ll build the capacity to use new metrics to assess and credential students in typically difficult-to-assess areas.

Develop strategies to bring about organisational change using best practice

Reflecting on current practices, you’ll evaluate your school or organisation and build capacity to use assessment and credentialling to measure the competencies learners require to thrive.

Collaborating with fellow learners, and using the tools, techniques, and best practice you’ve been introduced to, you’ll finish this course with an understanding of new assessment and recognition practices and next steps for how to successfully measure and report on a range of complex competencies for learners in your organisation.


  • Week 1

    New learning ambitions so that learners thrive

    • Introductions

      Let’s start by learning more about ourselves, each other and the team behind this course.

    • Global policy and practice

      Change is happening globally – there are new ambitions for learners to be able to thrive.

    • New learning ambitions frameworks

      Forward-thinking education leaders, teachers and their communities are establishing new learning ambitions for students, encompassing the broader and deeper learning now required for young people to thrive at school and beyond.

    • New Metrics research-practice partnerships

      Describe the need for a new grammar of schooling, new learning designs, new assessments and new ways to recognise complex competencies.

    • Building your ambitions framework

      To thrive, learners need broader and deeper learning experiences. Frameworks for complex competencies describe the increasing levels of sophistication evident in learning behaviours.

    • Complex competencies

      Define complex competencies and how they can be taught, assessed and recognised.

  • Week 2

    Complex competencies: Designing learning, new assessments and new forms of recognition

    • Learning design

      Learning design takes into account the day-to-day learning experiences that are aligned with learning ambitions and positions learners as active agents in their own learning.

    • Assessment design

      New learning assessments are designed to assess complex competencies based on observable learner performances that are aligned with learning ambitions and learning design.

    • Recognition design

      The Assessment Research Centre has been leading international research informing the teaching, assessment and recognition of complex competencies. The keys to good recognition are trust and utility.

    • It’s all about the alignment

      Educators are moving to contemporary approaches to align learning design, assessment and recognition of complex competencies.

  • Week 3

    Making it happen

    • Using Ruby to assess agency in learning unpacked

      In Week 2, Professor Milligan introduced both the agency in learning framework and the University of Melbourne’s Ruby platform. It is now time to delve deeper and take an opportunity to use both.

    • Alignment and the process of change

      Leaders in successful schools and organisations have led and supported the implementation of change processes to align assessment practices and recognition to the learning ambitions and learning approaches they have adopted.

    • Evaluating your school/organisation and yourself

      Frameworks are available to assess both your school/organisation’s readiness to implement assessment and recognition of complex competencies and your capacity to lead this transformation in your context.

    • What have we learned and where to from here?

      Reforming the design and organisation of learning to reflect new learning ambitions requires new metrics for success and a new generation of approaches to assessment, ensuring student thriving can be measured and recognised.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the policy context of assessing and recognising complex competencies
  • Define learning ambitions and consider new ways of measuring learner success
  • Define complex competencies and how they can be taught, assessed and recognised
  • Describe the need for a new grammar of schooling, new learning designs, new assessments and new ways to recognise complex competencies
  • Explain the elements and process of assessment design for recognising complex competencies

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for current and future leaders in schools and organisations who recognise that today’s learners need to develop a range of complex competencies in order to thrive in the future.

What software or tools do you need?

  • Internet access
  • Journal - online or paper based

Who will you learn with?

Sandra is Director of the Assessment Research Centre, MGSE, the University of Melbourne. She has held senior research, management and governance positions in a range of educational organisations.

Who developed the course?

The University of Melbourne

The University of Melbourne is a public research university located in Melbourne, Australia. We are Australia’s number one university and world leader in education, teaching and research excellence.

  • Established

  • Location

    Melbourne, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 40Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022

What's included?

The University of Melbourne are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible
  • Learning on FutureLearn

    Your learning, your rules

    • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
    • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
    • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

    Join a global classroom

    • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
    • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
    • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

    Map your progress

    • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
    • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
    • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

    Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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    Get a taste of this course

    Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

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