About us

About the initiative

The Online Formative Assessment Initiative is a cross-agency project involving three national education agencies and several partner organisations.

The agencies are: the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) and Education Services Australia (ESA). The Project Management Board and the project management office (PMO) have been established to oversee and coordinate the work of the agency project teams.

Key stakeholders have also been involved in the deliberations of project reference groups to provide oversight and input into all phases of the initiative.

An Information Sheet about the initiative is available to download.


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Opinion piece

In May 2021, an opinion piece was published on ACEL’s newsletter written by the Board Chair of the Initiative, Deb Efthymiades. The piece, entitled How teachers are helping to design an online network for formative assessment, outlines the work of the Initiative.

You can read it on our website here.


Through Growth to Achievement: Report of the Review to Achieve Excellence in Australian Schools (Excellence Review) found that structured and individually focused learning progressions can help teachers to better support students’ success and growth. The Excellence Review proposed that student progress may be best achieved when teachers have the appropriate tools, resources and expertise to use formative assessments to help them understand how their individual students are learning.

At the end of 2018 all states, territories and the Commonwealth signed the National School Reform Agreement and agreed to progress a ‘learning progressions and online formative assessment national initiative’ (the initiative) to investigate how best to implement this knowledge.

In March 2019, ESA, ACARA and AITSL, under the governance of the Education Council, were asked to undertake an initial ‘discovery’ phase to consider how this initiative could work. The discovery phase began in May 2019, and findings were reported to education ministers in December 2019. The ministers agreed to proceed to an alpha phase that started in 2020.

Key partnerships

The project has collaborators in all jurisdictions, research partnerships with universities, NGOs and commercial providers all of whom are committed to exploring key advances in the appropriate technologies, software, processes, tools and training that are crucial to the realisation of the vision.

Communication and engagement

A communications and stakeholder engagement plan has been developed. The plan aims to:

  • keep users and stakeholders well-informed about the initiative
  • ensure that appropriate consultation and engagement occurs so that design best suits the needs of teachers and students
  • ensure that education communities are well-prepared for further phases and implementation of the initiative in the future.

Clear communication about the activities of the alpha phase will be provided in a transparent, consultative approach. Communication will also be important to promote consistent understanding of key concepts to prepare for successful implementation in the longer term. The project teams will monitor and evaluate data collected during all stages of the work to ensure the initiative moves in the right direction to achieve the best outcomes for learners.

Some key engagement work in the alpha phase includes:

  • An Innovation Forum being held online, with Australian education stakeholders and vendors attending to help shape the future of the initiative.
  • The Teacher Practice Reference Group (TPRG) meeting online to ensure that the views and voices of the profession are central to all aspects of the initiative
  • Testing of all prototypes with teachers, school leaders, parents/carers and students
  • The email newsletter, sent to subscribers with initiative updates. You can sign up for the newsletter on the Contact Us page.