Longitudinal Study of Big Picture Learning Australia's University Pathway Students

This article published in the Discover Education online jounrnal presents the preliminary findings of the Longitudinal Study of Big Picture Learning Australia University Pathway Students. The study is led by Professor John Fischetti, from the School of Education, College of Human and Social Futures at the University of Newcastle.

Year 12 students in Big Picture Learning schools across Australia now use portfolios and interviews to apply for and gain entry to their first choice of university degree. They receive admission on the strength of portfolio evidence mapped to a new non-ATAR qualification, known as the International Big Picture Learning Credential (IBPLC). Since 2020, 270 gradu- ates have received offers to university using the Credential, growing from 3 in 2017. Like other Big Picture graduates who went before them, they are continuing a trajectory of passion-based learning that began in Year 9 or 10 at one of 45 Australian Big Picture Learning schools. All IBPLC graduates begin tertiary study equipped with experiences in the real world, support systems with a range of community mentors and teachers, specialist knowledge in their chosen field, and a set of independent learning skills intended to give them the opportunity to thrive in the university setting. In this article we share the preliminary findings of a study of graduates of Big Picture Learning Australia secondary schools who have matriculated using the IBPLC. Findings from our surveys and interviews show promise that the learning design of Big Picture, which starts with an internship in a passion area, is the key factor in enabling the success of graduates both from high school and into their university studies.