28 March 2024

New Metrics for Success: the complex competencies students require

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New Metrics for Success: the complex competencies students require
New Metrics for Success: the complex competencies students require
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Carey has played a pivotal role in the University of Melbourne’s New Metrics research partnership since its inception over three years ago, contributing significantly to the exploration and development of a comprehensive set of metrics aimed at providing a more holistic understanding of learners. While the ATAR serves as the conventional measure, indicating a learner's tertiary entrance rank through an academic lens, the evolving educational landscape, particularly in the context of an AI-driven world, demands a broader demonstration of skills.

The research has given rise to a collection of 'complex competencies,' interchangeably known as 21st Century Skills or General Capabilities, transferrable skills, and the like. According to the University of Melbourne, despite the varying terminology, they encapsulate similar skills, attitudes and values crucial for learners to prosper both in their academic journeys and the future beyond.

Carey's Positive Learner Attributes have historically proven effective for measuring these competencies for our students, and noteworthy parallels can be drawn between these attributes and the New Metrics seven complex competencies. Yet, after conducting an extensive internal audit, we have determined that trustworthy assessments of complex competencies necessitate a strong alignment between Carey's Attribute model and the New Metrics competencies. In recommending a gradual shift towards the assessment of these new competencies, we acknowledge the depth of research and the validation trials undertaken through hundreds of thousands of individual assessments within our New Metrics partnership schools.

The Carey Positive Learner Attributes

I reflect on my experiences and strengths, looking for opportunities to grow in my learning
I use my imagination to form new ideas, visualise and explore possibilities
I wonder and ask thoughtful questions
I understand and express myself confidently in a variety of ways
I recognise and respect others’ viewpoints and I contribute in a positive way to the work of a team
I always try to build authentic relationships and I demonstrate integrity, empathy, a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect
I search for facts and ideas which help me understand important issues across subjects.
I approach uncertainty and am prepared to explore new opportunities, ideas and strategies.
I am able to persevere, sustain effort and bounce back when experiencing setbacks.

The University of Melbourne's Complex Competencies

Acting Ethically
Acting in a way that is guided by moral principles (what we ought to do) in any situation
Active Citizenship
Contributing to the wellbeing of a community
Agency in Learning
Knowing what to learn, how to learn it and who to learn it from
The ability to transmit, receive and interpret information, ideas, arguments, feelings and beliefs to support the purposes of the individual or group
Working with others to achieve a common goal
Quality Thinking
Thinking things through to achieve better outcomes for yourself or your group

Read more about the New Metrics project and the complex competencies.

In late 2023, McKinsey and Company conducted a review of assessment systems supporting schools in enhancing the definition and assessment of complex competencies, steering away from traditional knowledge-focussed systems. While the market boasts a multitude of educational assessments, McKinsey found that none fully met all criteria. However, they concluded that the University of Melbourne's New Metrics research stands out as the most advanced and purposeful framework, signalling a significant endorsement of its potential in reshaping the future of educational assessments.

As part of our staff professional development next term, the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Assessment Enterprise Professor, Sandra Milligan, will lead us through our transition to incorporating complex competencies into the Carey student program with the aim of furthering our commitment to producing credible credentials for our young people.

Kate Croft
Deputy Principal – Learning


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