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ACER - Pursuing excellence in education

The renowned French novelist, Victor Hugo once said, “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.” Whilst there are many elements that contribute to the well-being of the individual and society, there can be no doubt that education is a key factor.

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) is one of the world’s leading educational research centres, committed to creating and distributing research-based knowledge, products and services to improve learning. As a not-for-profit organisation, independent of government, ACER receives no direct financial support generating its entire income through contracted research and development and distribution of products and services. Established in 1930, with a grant from the Carnegie Corporation, their contribution to learning spans more than 75 years and includes many aspects of education including testing for schools and universities, influences on teaching and learning, national and international achievement studies and the transition from school to further education or the workforce.

Providing excellence

pic2With an international reputation for excellence, a visit to their website at www.acer.edu.au is testimony to the many years of experience of their researchers. Blending this experience with creative talent and a range of established methodologies, ACER is able to specialise in collecting and interpreting information that can be used to shape educational strategic decision making.

ACER participates significantly in research and development projects, some being commissioned by Commonwealth, State and Territory governments while others are delivered under contract for a range of agencies. They also provide services on a user-pay basis including assessment services and professional development programs. Through ACER Press, ACER also publishes and distributes an extensive range of resources for professional practitioners in education, psychology, human resources, speech pathology and parent education.

With an established reputation in large-scale survey research, much of their work requires sampling, survey management, the analysis of survey data, and the interpretation and reporting of results. Current ACER work includes the management of the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and work for the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Civics Education Project. These projects are conducted with the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement.

Saward Dawson and ACER

Saward Dawson has provided an integrated assurance and accounting solution for ACER for more than 10 years. We have audited the company through a period of significant growth. They now have a turnover in excess of $40 million. We have provided the company’s directors with assistance through the complexities of general purpose financial reporting and the transition to the Australian equivalents to the International Financial Reporting Standards.

In addition to these services we have provided due diligence analysis and support on key business acquisitions.

On a note closer to home, Saward Dawson uses one of the ACER products. As an employer, we are constantly looking to recruit high quality, recently graduated accountants. Our applicant interview is the basis of the recruiting process. However, for several years we have come to rely on the ACER First Graduate Assessment utility. It provides a valuable addition to the interview process, often reinforcing our assessments and sometimes highlighting issues that were not evident during the interview.

We are proud of our professional relationship with ACER.

International participation

ACER provides many services for a broad range of international clients. They are members of, and active participants in many international educational associations and programmes. ACER has worked with the OECD, AusAID, UNESCO and the World Bank on international projects.

Working with a mission

ACER’s mission is “to create and disseminate knowledge and tools that can be used to improve learning”. It aims to expand on its programme of research and development in support of learning in vocational education and training and in higher education institutions while maintaining and expanding work undertaken in support of schools. With increased world-wide demand for educational research and knowledge, ACER is well-placed to provide leading-edge capabilities to improve learning – at home, in school, in tertiary education institutions and the workplace well into the future.

Visit www.acer.edu.au to learn more about this Australian organisation that is making a big impact on the international stage.

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