Federal minister for education Julia Gillard, said Australia "will become a founding member" of assessment and teaching of 21st century skills (ATC21S), described as an international multi-sector research project.
Other countries listed as founding members include the UK, Singapore, Finland and Portugal.
The project is to be led by Professor Barry McGaw of the University of Melbourne and will develop assessment tools for measuring key skills needed for the modern economy and society.
It comes on the back of undisclosed research that Gillard said suggests that education systems "have not kept pace with the changing global economy and advances in information and communications technology".
Gillard said the project findings have the potential to inform the development of a new national curriculum.
"The development of new methodologies and assessment tools will also enhance our innovative national assessment program," Gillard said.
Part of the project will include the development of a computer-based assessment system to test students' abilities in cross-disciplinary analytical, creative, adaptive and problem solving skills, as well as their ability to work co-operatively.
The participation comes on the back of a sizable investment by the Government in its digital education revolution initiative, which includes netbook computers for senior school students.