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How Does Our Humanity Shape Our Learning and Assessment Design?


In a world where technology is reshaping our everyday lives at an unprecedented pace, it can feel like everything is changing. Yet some things remain the same. At Methodist Ladies’ College, we recognise that there are qualities core to our humanity that remain important.   

These enduring qualities are what we call “complex competencies” – the personal attributes and skills that students develop when they solve problems, apply knowledge creatively and relate well to others. As technological integration grows, we risk losing sight of these competencies unless we deliberately focus on nurturing them.  

The uplifting news is that there is an increasing number of schools and systems – including students, teachers, leaders and communities – committed to this work. In May, four staff from MLC attended the New Metrics Biannual Partnership Conference at the University of Melbourne. The conference provided an opportunity for MLC staff to engage with academics and guest speakers, exchange ideas with peers from across Australia, and tackle the longstanding challenges of student assessment.  

We delved into solving practical problems to ensure that we recognise students’ growth in complex competencies alongside traditional academic achievement. We worked closely with other schools, examining vignettes and case studies to build trust in the assessment tools and refine the process for the moderation of student assessments. We considered how learning maps could be redesigned to allow students the opportunity to develop not just academically but also in terms of personal growth and complex competencies.  

One of the conference highlights was hearing from students who attend schools that have been transformed by a holistic approach to assessment. Their reflections were a powerful reminder of the impact an education can have. These students spoke about feeling empowered and seeing themselves as more than a rank or a number. They expressed a strong sense of purpose and a deep awareness of themselves as learners, which is a testament to the value of focusing on the whole student.  

Hear what our staff had to say of their experience: 

“The conference was a fantastic opportunity to meet with other educators and hear their points of view on the New Metrics system. The highlight for me was recognising that the program is student-centred and it’s all about developing their education.” – Jacqui Sherriff, Head of Curriculum and Analytics 

“The conference was a great opportunity to mix with all the other schools and moving on from here, we feel extremely confident that we can bring these learnings and teachings alive at MLC.” – Antoinette Buiks, Junior Years Leader Years 3-4 

As we continue to embrace technology into our education systems, it is crucial to keep sight of these core human competencies. By doing so, we ensure that our students are not just prepared for the future but are also capable of shaping it in meaningful and positive ways. By celebrating the gifts of the modern world and maintaining our commitment to these enduring qualities, we can prepare our students for a future that is both technologically advanced and deeply human.  

To find out more about MLC’s involvement in the University of Melbourne’s research-based project, New Metrics, click here. 


New Metrics


3 July 2024


Dr Penelope Russell, Director of Learning and Teaching Excellence