Dr Desmond Bermingham, CEO, ACER UK

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) has appointed Dr Desmond Bermingham as CEO of ACER UK. Dr Bermingham, who will have responsibilities for the UK and Europe, was previously the head of education in the UK Department for International Development (DFID); global education director for Save the Children International; and head of the Fast Track Initiative (now the Global Partnership for Education) at the World Bank.

His most recent position was Director of Programmes at the Varkey Foundation, a private foundation which awards the annual Global Teacher Prize.

ACER is an independent, not-for-profit research organisation with more than 400 staff in Australia, India, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. The organisation is one of the world’s leading educational research bodies focusing on assessment and learning.

ACER has been the international coordinating centre for the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the International Civics and Citizenship Study (ICCS) and the International Communication and Information Literacy Study (ICILS).

It also manages national assessment programmes in a range of countries and is a leader in research in innovative approaches to assessment in schools, skills and the higher education sector. (Geoff Masters: Towards a Growth Mindset in Assessment)

Professor Geoff Masters, global CEO of ACER, announcing the appointment said, “We are pleased to welcome Desmond to the ACER international team. He brings broad experience across a range of organisations in policy development and government operations”.

Dr Bermingham said, “I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with one of the world’s leading research organisations in learning and assessment. I believe ACER has a significant contribution to make to important education debates in the UK and other EU countries, in particular addressing the challenge of under-achievement of disadvantaged children and contributing to the UK government’s national plan to improve social mobility through education: Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential. Effective assessment that captures the broad range of learners’ talents and reflects their progress should be an essential component of any teacher’s toolkit.”

ACER UK currently leads the partner group delivering the Scottish National Standardised Assessments; provides assessment services to schools, such as the ELMs assessment suite; and works with the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) to provide content for key stage testing programmes (Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 SATs). ACER UK also operates a number of specialised assessment services, including the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) and the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP), which support university selection processes.

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