Achievement Matters was an ambitious project—and one that was urgently required, given the shortage of skilled accountants and the increasing expectations from government authorities monitoring the compliance of learning standards in Australian universities.
The aim of developing a shared understanding of these standards across key stakeholder groups was vital to the credibility and standing of accounting as a professional discipline. Accounting was the first business discipline to develop learning standards in 2010, and the Achievement Matters approach was to develop an assessment model in line with the nationally agreed standards.
In conjunction with key industry stakeholders, CPA Australia (CPAA), the Institute of Chartered Accounting Australia (ICAA), and the Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC), the project aims were:
- Obtain and use external peer-reviewed evidence of learning outcomes achieved by potential accounting graduates from all types of higher education providers, benchmarked against these agreed learning standards.
- Refinement of a model for assessing learning outcomes in accounting higher education based on double-blind, calibrated external peer review. The model should be sustainable, inclusive, reliable, efficient, scalable, and self-regulating; meeting the quality assurance needs of professional bodies and the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).
- Improvements in accounting assessment practices.
- Sharing of a workable model for assessing standards to be considered for application to other disciplines.
The project outcomes:
External peer-reviewed evidence of accounting academic outcomes in all types of higher education providers, benchmarked against the accounting threshold learning standards.
A model process for assessing learning outcomes (that is sustainable, reliable and efficient), satisfying external quality assurance needs and motivating continuous improvement.
Professional development of academics about assessment.
Enhanced understandings in the external environment of our model for assessing achievement of learning standards.