Report 1: Recognition of learning success for all


Learning Creates Australia is focused on building a new, trusted and well-endorsed approach to recognising learning that will strengthen agency in young people and help them to effectively navigate and access a range of pathways beyond school.

While Australia has many examples of positive incremental change and aspects of our education system have served many young people well, how we define and measure success in learning is limiting young people’s ability to prepare for their future– regardless of their background, abilities or efforts.

Recognition of learning success for all is a new paper from our research partners, the University of Melbourne, that contributes to the evidence base for our ongoing work.

This paper is not the work of one entity, organisation or sector. It includes a shared framework with tools that we can all take into our schools, programs, policies and plans around the country. We all welcome and invite others to own, drive and adopt a new narrative for recognition in Australia.


The problem with our current system

The research team has summarised the existing case for change and gathered input from people across education, government, business and philanthropy – including young people – to address the misalignment between what we measure as educational success and the learning goals we aspire to.

The common themes emerging in many official reports, expert opinions and in the views of young people, is that schooling in Australia does not reliably deliver or recognise what young people need if they are to thrive and contribute to a healthy economy and society.

Too many young Australians still complete their formal school education without the knowledge, skills, attitudes and dispositions they need to navigate the transition from school to further education, training, or employment.

Key indicators and metrics are not improving, or are improving only slowly. Many young people are still not completing school. Standards of attainment in some core areas of learning are falling. Even for these who complete school, transition into a satisfying post-school pathways is often difficult and slow and not conducive to confidence.

All learners in every suburb, state, region, city or postcode need to be able to claim recognition for their capabilities. We all need young people to be able to demonstrate the degree to which they know and are able to do what is needed to thrive at school and beyond.

And yet Australia currently has the fourth most segregated education system in the world.


The problem creates the opportunity

Recognition of learning success for all examines the prevailing conceptions of success built into the recognition system in senior secondary schooling in Australia and explores how to build a more equitable system that can be celebrated and measured.

If assessment and recognition changes, so too does the curriculum and organization of learning.

A core goal is to develop a new and trusted currency for recognising the full range of learning required for young people to thrive in learning, work and the community.

New insights to inform our work

Recognition of learning success for all provides the background to the challenges facing Australian education as well as new insights from young people with a framework that is drawn from the work of people, organisations and communities across education, government, business and philanthropy.

The paper includes powerful insights from young people who have been core to the thinking behind a sequence of new recognition and prototyping tools as they unlock and build solutions towards a better currency for recognising learning. 

Learning Creates asked young people to reflect on their years 10-12 of schooling, asking:

  • Did they feel that their schooling had supported them to learn what they need to learn?
  • What, in their view, does success in schooling look like, and did they achieve it? 

Many of their responses are represented within the paper.

The strength of our collective approach

The paper evidences that it is possible to build, test and prototype a new and broader conception of success within a common standards-based recognition system that has trust and utility for recruiters and selectors, employers and young people. 

Importantly, The Learner’s Journey (our first project and National Social Lab) centres young people and First Nations people as central drivers of the work to enable a new recognition system to succeed.

Trust by the community, and utility for stakeholders are two fundamental qualities of any recognition system. 

As core to the development of new ways to recognise success, the community would need to trust that credentials accurately and reliably represent the learning of every candidate. In addition, new credentials would need to provide to all stakeholders (teachers, learners, selectors and recruiters) the same or greater levels of utility than is currently enjoyed by only some, especially university recruiters into competitive courses.

Who benefits?

All learners including those representing diverse backgrounds, perspectives and experiences, should be able to find value from a learning system that helps them thrive. The broader community should also be able to find value as they recruit, engage and employ young people across a range of settings. 

The development of learner agency in every learner will help those who have faced disadvantage around their learning experiences. Having agency means being able to build on personal and community experience and interests, in ways that are recognized by our systems and structures.

Communities have commented that those who are currently able to find a way to thrive in Australian education will continue to do so, if not more so if they are part of a recognition system that honours and reflects their learning inside and outside of formal schooling. 

Others who are currently sliding backwards stand to gain for the first time from a more extensive range of pathways that are more informative for recruiters and selectors.


Components of a new recognition system

In analysing the many innovative approaches developed by Australian organisations, schools and programs, Recognition of learning success for all presents six key components for a new approach to recognition of learning. These are described below:



New learning ambitions

At the heart of any recognition system are agreements about the breadth and depth of learning required. A simple synthesis of learning ambitions that capture the breadth and depth of thinking about what students should now learn, to thrive, is summarised below:

Learner agency

Learner agency

Capacity to chart their own learning towards expertise in a chosen path, taking risks, investing in learning to attain their purposes, harnessing interests, and taking responsibility for the results attained.

The learning staples

The learning staples

Including critical analysis and evaluation, teamwork and collaboration, problem solving, creativity, capacity for resilience and self-care, intercultural capability, and entrepreneurial skill



Capacity to create and sustain valuable connections to support induction into wider communities in which they will participate and contribute as workers, community members and citizens

Basic literacies

Basic literacies

Literacy, numeracy, and the digital literacies

Knowledge and knowhow

Knowledge and knowhow

Mastery of the terminology, concepts, theories, structures and processes that make up the disciplines, vocations and cultural domains and application of knowledge through building, designing, providing services, performing, growing or creating things of value.


Find out more by downloading the report


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