Achievement Matters updates
11 Jul 2016
July 2016 - There was lively discussion at the tenth Calibration workshop held on the Gold Coast on 6th July immediately following the AFAANZ Conference. Thirty seven reviewers participated in the workshop including thirteen new members along with four industry participants. The focus of the workshop was on Masters learning standards relating to Application, Knowledge and Written Communication. It has been proposed that from 2017, AFAANZ will manage the process of administration for the workshops with support from the professional bodies. Institutions will also be given the option to participate in external peer review of live data with three calibrated reviewers invited to review the assessment items. Member and non-member institutions will pay a fee to have their submitted work reviewed.
July 2015 - a Calibration workshop was held at the University of Tasmania following annual conference of the Accounting and Finance Association of New South Wales. This ninth workshop focussed on Masters (Entry) learning standards relating to Self-Management, Knowledge and Written Communication. For the first time, an assessment task was considered valid to demonstrate the standard in focus (written communication) by all peer reviewers which included a number of new reviewers. Each institution was given the option to participate in external peer review of live data either with pre-arranged reciprocal partnerships or via randomly assigned anonymous reviewers.
July 2015 – International Education Standards (IES) of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) become effective. Far reaching standards (IES 2 – technical competence; IES 3 – professional skills; IES 4 – professional values; IES 6 – assessment) apply from 1 July. Several important extracts include:
IFAC member bodies shall establish appropriate assessment activities to measure the achievement of the professional skills of aspiring professional accountants. (Paragraph 9 in IES 3)
IFAC member bodies shall design assessment activities that have high levels of reliability, validity, equity, transparency, and sufficiency within professional accounting education programs. (Paragraph 9 in IES 6)
Although the assessment of professional competence during IPD is the responsibility of IFAC member bodies, other stakeholders may provide substantive input into assessment activities. (Paragraph A2 in IES 6)
Australian professional accounting bodies (CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand) accreditation guidelines recognise the role Achievement Matters plays in providing evidence of achievement for accredited programs.
June 2015 – University of Tasmania becomes the 18th higher education provider to join the process.
June 2015 – Major report on study by leading UK researchers released by Higher Education Funding Council of England. In addition to recognising the strength of the Achievement Matters approach (see 9.31 on page 81 and Table 9 page 85), they recommend (page 94) “Consequently we recommend that the sector: … Accelerates the professionalisation of the external examiner built on: a requirement to calibrate external examiners’ academic standards within and organised by their disciplinary communities drawing on existing UK and international methods for calibration; more systematic training to develop further knowledge and more consistent perspectives on the role, standards, assessment literacy and professional judgement.”
May 2015 – Final project report published to website of the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. http://www.olt.gov.au/project-achievement-matters-external-peer-review-accounting-learning-standards
April 2015 – Productivity Commission report recognises the value of external assurance “given that student achievement is the ultimate goal of education, outcome-based or learning standards such as the demonstration of generic and discipline-specific learning objectives (including competency in the English language), are equally important from a quality assurance perspective. This suggests that the current emphasis on teaching standards should be rebalanced to provide for learning standards to have a greater role in quality assurance arrangements.” http://www.pc.gov.au/research/completed/international-education/international-education.pdf
April 2015 – The Independent Commission Against Corruption of New South Wales report recognises the value of external assurance and recommends higher education providers “balancing the strength of the academic standards compliance system with the business development risks. This may include appointing an independent representative from another university to sit on academic standard committees or auditing of course standards by well-regarded Australian and overseas academics”. http://www.icac.nsw.gov.au/component/docman/doc_download/4595-learning-the-hard-way-managing-corruption-risks-associated-with-international-students-at-universities-in-NSW
March 2015 – Second article published in Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education called “Does Calibration reduce variability in the assessment of accounting learning outcomes?”
December 2014 – Final project report submitted to Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching.
November 2014 – Australian Business Deans Council agree to continuation of recommended external calibration process and external assurance for 2015 under leadership of Professors Hancock and Freeman.
July 2014 – Eighth calibration workshop (and final one under the project) was held at UTS. Several academics from 17 higher education institutions were represented and four professional practitioners participated. Expert observers from the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching present. Also present as observer was Berry O’Donovan, a leading international academic from the United Kingdom who has been pioneering research in this area with colleagues Chris Rust and Margaret Price for over a decade. The fourth external peer review of live data took place the follow day.
November 2013 – First article published in Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education called “Social moderation, assessment and assuring standards for accounting graduates”