The Assessment Research Centre (ARC) focuses on improving assessment and reporting through a four-step process of research, publications, development and teaching. These steps provide the framework for the ARC's strategic planning, and guide the Centre's core business as well as its link to the University of Melbourne's mission.
Research that leads to change, strategically affects change, or sets up the basis for change and improvement in assessment, forms the focus of the ARC's work.
Assessment tools and resources
21st century skills
Associate Professor Sandra Milligan
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Dr Sandra Milligan is Director and Principal Fellow of the Assessment Research Centre at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne. Sandra’s current research interests focus on assessment, micro-credentialing and warranting of hard-to-assess learning.
Her most recent research examined how ‘big data’ and developmental assessment approaches can be used on digital learning platforms, to support assessment of higher-order learning skills such as ‘21st Century skills’, or learning skills. Originally trained as a teacher of science and mathematics, she is also a former Director of Curriculum in an Australian state education department, and has held senior research, management and governance positions in a range of educational organisations, including government agencies, not-for-profits, small start-up businesses and large, listed, international corporations. She was co-founder of The Good Universities Guide series, and has a background in technology commercialisation in education. She is the Convenor of a Melbourne University MOOC targeting professional learning for teachers in the area of assessment and teaching of 21C skills, which has to date has enrolled over 30,000 teachers worldwide.
Associate Professor Suzanne Rice
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Deputy Director, Assessment Research Centre
Associate Professor Suzanne Rice is the Deputy Director of the Assessment Research Centre. She has researched and published widely in the areas of testing policy and the impact of high-stakes testing programs. Her other research interests include teacher motivation and pathways, and career development provision in schools.
Associate Professor Rice coordinates teaching activity and research supervision within the ARC. She led the establishment of the award-winning Master of Clinical Teaching (now the Master of Education in Evidence-Based Practice), and she is a member of the Melbourne College of Reviewers, an expert panel that supports University of Melbourne staff to strengthen further the quality and relevance of their teaching.
Dr BM Monjurul Alom
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BM Monjurul Alom is presently a Programmer at the Assessment Research Centre, University of Melbourne, Australia. Monjurul works on software development specifically for the assessment of 21st century skills, including collaborative problem solving. He programs online assessment tasks and scoring algorithms. Monjurul has proficiency in web programming (game development, database application) and server administration.
He has developed ARC online testing system, registration portal system, multiplayer collaborative games and scoring engine to assess the ability of students, which is being used in schools in Australia and Internationally. His research also includes data mining and management for large scale databases.
He completed a PhD (Computer Science) in 2011 at the University of Newcastle, Australia. He was an Assistant Professor at Dhaka University of Engineering & Technology from 2000–2007.
03 9035 4001
Nafisa specialises in the design, development and implementation of web-based educational assessments, reporting and other data collection tools. She manages system integration and architecture for traditional and innovative, individual and collaborative assessments for students in multiple languages. She is also involved in data management, analysis and item writing.
Her research interests are focused on the assessment and measurement of 21st century skills, including application of novel technologies in delivering automated tests and reporting to teachers and students.
Dr Bruce Beswick
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Research Fellow & Publications Officer
In his role as Research Fellow, Bruce works across a range of projects developing assessment materials and exploring challenges in assessment practice. His most recent work has focused on the assessment of general capabilities and the arts. Bruce’s main interest is in the exploration of differences in evaluation and judgement and he completed a PhD on aesthetic judgement in 2012. In his role as Publications Officer, Bruce is responsible for writing and editing research output, including academic volumes, book chapters, journal articles and web copy.
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Megan has worked across a variety of international educational contexts employed as an educator and administrator.
Her work involves teaching in the Assessment for Teaching program, Clinical Teaching and Learning and Leading Assessment. She has a special interest in assessment in an international context.
Dr Matthew Courtney
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Matthew's skills and expertise lie in the fields of educational measurement, statistics, quantitative research designs in education, and the social sciences.
He has multiple peer-reviewed journal publications, several book chapters, and experience as a masters and doctoral supervisor.
Matthew’s area of interest is quite broad having taken part in projects related to the quantitative modelling of child and adult learning and development across Australasia and Africa.
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Narelle English is a Research Fellow, Lecturer in assessment and Doctoral candidate at the Assessment Research Centre, University of Melbourne. Her research projects are assessment related and she works on projects relating to developmental learning and the design and development of data collection tools and assessments. She has designed and implemented assessment for teaching programs in the Master of Teaching, Master of Education, the Network of Schools project within the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, and the Department of Education’s Bastow Institute. She is currently working on projects with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) in formative assessment and the Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership on a principal assessment.
Narelle has also taught and held leadership positions in department schools in Victoria, and overseas in the US state system and Japan.
Dr Eeqbal Hassim
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Senior Research Fellow
Eeqbal is Senior Research Fellow at the Assessment Research Centre, based at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne. His work focuses on intercultural education and education in international contexts, in particular the intersection of learning, teaching and assessment.
A former teacher, Toshiko has been involved in a project to develop resources to assess foundational skills in students with disability as well as other projects to investigate the assessment of general capabilities in students from foundation to year 12 level.
Toshiko’s research interests include the assessment of complex competencies, measurement theory, and raising the capacity of teachers to educate all students.
Dr Thida Kheang
Thida is a research fellow at the Assessment Research Center. He works on projects relating to educational assessment, curriculum review, and school leadership.
He has experiences working on education projects in different contexts, mainly in Southeast Asia. His areas of expertise/interests relate to qualitative research, education policy, teacher education, and educational leadership.
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Debbie’s work includes managing the financial, human resources and administrative functions of the Centre.
Debbie provides operational advice and support to ARC staff and students in accordance with University policies and procedures.
Dr Rebekah Luo
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Rebekah’s area of interest and expertise is in the assessment of general capabilities or 21st century skills.
She leads research and consultancy projects relating to the development of instruments to assess capabilities and skills such as intercultural capability, critical thinking, etc.
Emeritus Professor Barry McGaw
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Barry McGaw is an Honorary Professorial Fellow in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and an Emeritus Professor of Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia.
He had earlier been Director for Education at the OECD in Paris, Executive Director of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and Professor of Education at Murdoch University. He began his professional career as a secondary school science teacher in Queensland, Australia. He was the foundation Chair of the Board of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).
03 9035 5077
Ruth is the Administrative Officer within the Assessment Research Centre. Working closely with the Project Manager, Ruth provides a high level of administrative support to the Centre to ensure the delivery of the core Centre outcomes. In addition Ruth provides day to day support for the Centre Director and assists in the administration of HR associated issues.
Dr Cuc Nguyen
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Senior Research Fellow
Cuc has extensive experience in large-scale survey design (sampling design, instrument development, data management and data analysis).
Her strengths are in development and validation of instruments for measuring competencies, application of Item Response Theory, Structural Equation Modelling and Multi-level Modelling.
Dr Nives Nibali
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Nives works on projects that involve supporting educators in the assessment of and planning for students of all learning abilities.
Her work includes supporting educators of school and preschool students and seeks to research and share evidence-based practices for improving the progress of individual students. She is passionate about growth equity in education which includes supporting progress for high and low ability students commensurate with other students.
Dr Jason Pietzner
03 8344 8699
Dr Pietzner is employed at the ARC as a lecturer. His PhD examined the development of critical thinking in secondary students. Before this Dr Pietzner worked in primary and secondary schools for a period of 18 years where he was a generalist primary and VCE philosophy and English teacher as well as holding a variety of leadership positions. Dr Pietzner has lectured in a range of subjects in the MGSE in the areas of assessment, pedagogy, and philosophy of education and has supervised teacher candidates in schools. Jason is currently involved in national and international projects with schools and education departments in the areas of general capabilities assessment, micro-credentialing and competency based education.
Dr Claire Scoular
03 9035 9879
Claire's work focuses on the improvement of measurement practices in education. Her expertise is embedded in the application and statistical analysis of psychological measurement.
Recent investigations have centered around measurement methodology and application for 21st century skills, including traditional and automated test delivery systems.
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Hilary Slater is a Project Manager at the Assessment Research Centre.
Her work includes responsibility for project management within the Assessment Research Centre, including driving the establishment, implementation and monitoring of research, teaching and consulting projects. She also acts as Project Manager for several of the Centre’s large-scale projects.
Dr Jane Strickland
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Jane lectures across post-graduate programs and has a background in teaching primary, secondary and special education. Her interest lies in supporting teachers' instruction of all learners through development and interpretation of high-quality assessment and associated learning progressions.
She completed her PhD focused on development and use of learning progressions of emergent numeracy in 2018.
Professor Mark Wilson
Professor of Assessment
Mark's interests focus on measurement and applied statistics. His work spans a range of issues in measurement and assessment from the development of new statistical models for analysing measurement data, to the development of new assessments in subject matter areas such as science education, patient-reported outcomes and child development, to policy issues in the use of assessment data in accountability systems.
Dr Zhonghua Zhang
03 9035 8597
Zhonghua’s expertise lies in the area of educational measurement and statistics.
He works on the application of advanced quantitative methods in educational and psychological studies. His studies have been published in refereed journals, book chapters and international academic conferences.
The Assessment Research Centre is involved in a wide range of teaching activities focused on educational measurement and assessment. Teaching is a vital method of dissemination and used to inform practices of teaching and learning.
The study of assessment with the staff of the ARC reflects the latest theoretical understanding, research methodology and analytical tools available in the field. Skills gained are cross-disciplinary and by their very nature are applicable to diverse fields of work.
The Assessment Research Centre offers subjects in the following Melbourne Graduate School of Education courses:
Master of Education in Evidence-Based Teaching
Use the latest evidence-based teaching methods to increase your impact on student outcomes.
Master of Education
With a flexible course structure and nine specialisations to choose from, expand your professional learning in education theory and practice, across fields such as policy, leadership and classroom practice. Explore course
Master of Instructional Leadership
Master of Teaching (Primary)
Master of Teaching (Secondary)
Subjects which are taught or co-taught by Assessment Research Centre staff include:
- Becoming a Clinical Practitioner (Early Childhood)
- Becoming a Clinical Practitioner (Primary)
- Becoming a Clinical Practitioner (Secondary)
- Clinical Teaching and Learning
- Evidence Based Learning and Teaching 1
- Evidence Based Learning and Teaching 2
- Integrating Clinical Practice (Primary)
- Integrating Language and Clinical Practice (Secondary)
- Leading Assessment
- Learning from Evidence
- The Student as Learner
- Using Data to Build Learning Pathways
The Assessment Research Centre is involved in a wide range of graduate research activities focused on promoting educational measurement and assessment.
The Assessment Research Centre involves is involved in a range of research development and teaching projects that focus on psychometrics, test development, performance and competency assessment in schools, higher education and workplaces.Read more
The Assessment Research Centre welcomes students who wish to complete post graduate study at the Assessment Research Centre.Read more
Current Research Students
Learn about the innovative research being undertaken by research students based at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education's Assessment Research Centre.Read more
The Assessment Research Centre publishes a wide range of written material including books, book chapters, journal articles and project-based reports. Certain publications may be available upon request. Please email: email@example.com, stating the title(s) you are interested in.
Assessment Research Centre
Melbourne Graduate School of Education
The University of Melbourne