The Learner's Journey Project

Project Director

Enterprise Professor Sandra Milligan

Project Details

Despite the many advantages living in Australia confers, young Australians face significant issues in making successful transitions to further education and work on completing their school education. These difficulties are magnified for less advantaged young people, such as those from poorer families, those living in rural and remote settings, Indigenous young people, and those with mental health issues. The senior secondary education we offer young Australians focuses on subject content knowledge, and funnels them towards a single number, the ATAR. There is little that adequately documents the breadth of what they know and are able to do, and the qualities they bring to work and post-school studies.

The Learning Creates Australia project seeks to address this issue by developing new, better and more comprehensive ways in which we can measure and credential what young people know and can do, to facilitate better transitions to work and further learning for all young people, but particularly for those grappling with various forms of disadvantage. The Assessment Research Centre is working with the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) and Price Waterhouse Coopers to map the componentry of a new recognition system that has the capacity to align recognition of young people’s knowledge and capabilities, with the broad aspirations for its young people that Australian governments have outlined in documents such as the Mparntwe Declaration. This will involve identifying new learning ambitions, new assessments, new standards, new credentials, new pacts between stakeholders in the educational landscape, and new metrics that can be used with confidence by schools, tertiary providers and employers.

The project has delivered a major industry report that outlines both the need for this new componentry, and some of the key features. Future work will include case studies of existing alternative programs for assessing and credentialing the knowledge and capabilities of young people, working with teams of young people and FYA to identify future possibilities for assessment and credentialing, and technical work that identifies the necessary parameters of new systems that can ensure their validity and reliability.

This project is part of a larger program of work, Learning Creates Australia, led by the Foundation for Young Australians, and funded by the Paul Ramsay foundation.


Project Director
Professor Sandra Milligan

Project Lead
Associate Professor Suzanne Rice

Team members

  • Associate Professor Eeqbal Hassim
  • Dr Thida Kheang
  • Dr Rebekah Luo
  • Dr Toshiko Kamei

Published Research

Milligan, S., Luo, R., Kamei, T., Rice, S., and Kheang, T. (2020). Recognition of learning success for all: Ensuring trust and utility in a new approach to recognition of learning in senior secondary education in Australia. Melbourne, Victoria: Foundation for Young Australians.