• Melbourne Logo

Transforming Assessment Design: Leading Assessment and Recognition of Complex Competencies

Explore the latest research, technology, and strategies in assessment design and recognising development of complex competencies.

Two little kids with rocket backpacks and goggles, fists raised to the sky.

Transform what we assess and how we assess it, so that learners can thrive

With a global shift towards competency based education, educators are looking for new ways to assess and recognise developmental learning in various contexts.

Building on the content covered in Measuring What Matters: Transforming Assessment and Recognition of Complex Learning Competencies, this seven week course takes an in-depth dive into best practice for assessment, learning how to recognise progress and credential competence.

Plan lessons, modules, and work units to support competency based education frameworks

This course will build your capacity to lead others in the assessment and recognition of learners’ complex competencies.

You’ll help young people develop the skills, attitudes, qualities, and capabilities needed to thrive at school and beyond.

Conduct formative and summative assessment of student learning

You’ll deepen your understanding of how to confidently plan for, teach, assess, and report on complex competencies by putting your knowledge into practice throughout the course.

Learn from the experts at The University of Melbourne

You’ll access and use next-generation tools and resources developed by The University of Melbourne, enabling you to adopt the strategies and know-how required to lead transformative work in your setting.

By the end of this course, you’ll have gained a range of skills and techniques to improve the quality and collection of teacher judgements, as well as learning how to provide meaningful feedback to students, recognising their progress in complex competencies.


  • Week 1

    Scoping learning ambitions

    • Getting started

      This section includes all the information you will need to get started in this course.

    • Introduction to Week 1

      Let's take a look ahead to what we'll be covering this week.

    • Identifying learning ambitions

      What constitutes success in learning? Learning ambitions identify the broader and deeper learning required by young people if they are to thrive as creative, confident individuals and active, informed members of a complex world.

    • Identifying complex competencies to equip learners to achieve their ambitions

      Complex competencies are part of learning ambitions. They establish the skills needed to ensure that young people can thrive in learning and the community. Identified competencies need to be teachable, learnable, and assessable.

    • Implementing assessment and recognition

      A broader range of metrics is required to support learners, teachers, and school leaders to assess the complex competencies young people need to thrive at school and beyond.

    • Leading assessment and recognition of complex competencies

      New assessment approaches support teaching and recognising complex competencies. Tools will be introduced to support you as a leader to build confidence with your teams, so you can transform assessment and recognition.

    • Bringing it all together

      Let's reflect on what we've covered this week and take a look at what's coming up next.

  • Week 2

    Designing recognition

    • Introduction to Week 2

      This week you will learn how a trusted recognition system can impact your school community.

    • What is a trusted recognition system?

      Recognition is the process of using assessments to determine and certify the degree to which an individual has attained a particular level of competence. Fairness, accuracy, and integrity are essential for trust.

    • Co-design learning partners

      Co-design recognises the expertise of stakeholders, who are learning partners, by actively involving them in the design process.

    • Trusting recognition

      A challenge is to develop a new and trusted currency for recognising the full range of learning required for young people to thrive in their community. The representation of learning documented needs to be fair and accurate.

    • Bringing it all together

      Let's reflect on what we've covered this week and take a look at what's coming up next.

  • Week 3

    Selecting and customising assessment frameworks

    • Introduction to Week 3

      Competency frameworks need to capture the learning ambitions valued by the school/organisation and be expressed in curriculum terms that teachers can readily interpret and action. Select frameworks for your context.

    • Understanding assessment frameworks

      Frameworks are developed primarily for teachers. Behaviours associated with the development of competence are identified. Frameworks are designed to help assessors notice increasing proficiency in a competence.

    • The Melbourne Assessment suite of competency frameworks

      Melbourne Assessment, which includes New Metrics with 38 Australian schools and other research partnerships, has developed a suite of competency frameworks.

    • Bringing it all together

      Let's reflect on what we've covered this week and take a look at what's coming up next.

  • Week 4

    Designing assessments

    • Introduction to Week 4

      This week, you will consider how to assess complex competencies. As with all assessment, the quality and accuracy of the judgements will largely be determined by the opportunities students have to learn and demonstrate competence.

    • Defining assessment

      Teachers, students, and parents may have varying views on what assessment is or should be. Let’s begin by defining what you think assessment is so that you can ensure you design assessment effectively.

    • Alignment and assessment design

      The Taster highlighted the need for alignment between learning ambitions, learning design, and assessment design. You will have the opportunity to explore practical steps to support you in ensuring this alignment.

    • Using tasks, activities, and performance opportunities to assess complex competencies: Designing to elicit performance

      Tasks, activities, and performance opportunities provide learners with the best opportunity for demonstrating the range of what they know and can do. They serve as evidence of learning.

    • Quality evidence

      Quality evidence improves trust in warranted credentials. The evidence needs to be structured and in a form that supports a reliable judgement about the degree to which the learner has progressed in developing competence.

    • Designing for alignment

      This week, you have been introduced to a range of resources and strategies to support aligning learning and assessment design.

    • Bringing it all together

      Let's reflect on what we've covered this week and take a look at what's coming up next.

  • Week 5

    Assessment in practice – having a go

    • Introduction to Week 5

      This week you will learn ….

    • Planning assessment for complex competencies

      Finding improved ways to teach and assess the complex competencies that learners need has been at the forefront of Melbourne Metrics research partnerships. Explore the strategies and tools developed to support teachers.

    • Planning and assessing your students

      Complex competencies develop through exposure and practice. Assessment design needs to reflect the kinds of competencies that schools want to develop. A consistent planning process helps establish shared expectations.

    • Your turn to use Ruby

      Ruby contains a range of new-generation assessment tools that include complex competencies, so conducting an assessment in Ruby may look quite different to a traditional marking schema or rubric.

    • Supporting colleagues

      Our advice is that supporting colleagues with small but persistent shifts in practice is impactful. It takes time but will lead to an increase in confidence and momentum, ensuring that the transformed practices become the norm.

    • Bringing it all together

      Let's reflect on what we've covered this week and take a look at what's coming up next.

  • Week 6

    Making judgements, moderating, and quality assurance

    • Introduction to Week 6

      Let's take a look ahead to what we'll be covering this week.

    • Using Ruby reports

      This week, you’ll consider the reports Ruby produced and how these can be used when working with colleagues to build trust in the assessment of students’ proficiency in these competencies.

    • Building trust in judgement-based assessment

      Melbourne Assessment has developed tools and processes to support schools/organisations to make valid and reliable judgements about their learners' levels of attainment in complex competencies.

    • Building capacity and confidence in new generation

      Leading the implementation of new-generation assessment and reporting of complex competencies in a school or organisation requires a range of approaches to build the capabilities, confidence, and trust of assessors and learners.

    • Bringing it all together

      We’ve covered a range of concepts over the last six weeks. Each week has been like a piece of a puzzle. The puzzle is nearly complete, and you can start to think about a plan for your school/organisation.

  • Week 7


    • Introduction to Week 7

      Let's take a look ahead to what we'll be covering this week.

    • Understanding warranting

      The form of recognition for learners’ performance in complex competencies needs to be understood, trusted, and valued by the employers, trainers and educators who, along with the learners, will be the end users of the credential.

    • Levels of trust

      Not every school seeks to establish the highest level of warrant for a credential of complex competencies. Different levels of trust have specific requirements to suit the context.

    • Warranting considerations

      The next step is to evaluate your own learning context/community to ascertain the next steps for warranting.

    • Leading the transformation

      Processes, strategies, and tools have been introduced to support you to embed complex competencies into the assessment and recognition systems. Do you feel confident to influence transformation in your school/organisation?

    • Assessment

      Do you know [objectives of this week]? Take this test to find out how much you know.

    • Bringing it all together

      Our time together is drawing to a close, but first, let’s recap.

    • What’s next?

      Let's reflect on the learning explored in the course and consider where to apply and further build on your new skills and knowledge.

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.

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...

  • Develop an understanding of the who, what, why, with whom and how of scoping learning amtibions
  • Identify characteristics of successful recognition design
  • Develop skills and processes to select and use assessment frameworks
  • Develop an understanding of designing assessment through practical application
  • Describe how to lead designing assessments of complex competencies with a team
  • Describe how to make judgements, moderate and quality assure evidence
  • Explain how, by whom and what the purpose of warranting is

Who is the course for?

This course is designed to follow on from the short course, Measuring What Matters: Transforming Assessment and Recognition of Complex Learning Competencies .

It’s designed for educators who have engaged in the short course taster and wish to further their knowledge of designing and implementing new principles of assessment.

It is for educators who wish to build their capacity to lead the improvement of assessment and reporting practices within their setting by broadening the way complex competencies are taught, assessed and reported on.

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.

Dr Bruce Beswick is a Research Fellow at Melbourne Assessment, in MGSE at the University of Melbourne. He specialises in the assessment and reporting of complex competencies.

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?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

Still want to know more? Check out our FAQs

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

Get a taste of this course

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

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...