In this edition:
National consultation on the draft K-10 Australian Curriculum for English, mathematics, science and history is well under way, with state/territory consultation forums being held in Brisbane, Hobart, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Canberra. In the coming weeks, forums will be held in Alice Springs and Darwin. These forums have already brought together over a thousand teachers, academics, curriculum writers, principals, parents and students to examine and provide feedback on the new K-10 English, maths, science and history curricula. The feedback that ACARA has been receiving through these forums will be used to help refine the draft Australian Curriculum before it is published in the second half of 2010.
Throughout April, ACARA will also host national forums in Sydney, and will bring together stakeholders from each state and territory, including teachers, academics and curriculum officers. The purpose of the national forums will be to examine and comment on feedback data collected from the state/territory forums and formulate consolidated advice for improving the Australian Curriculum.
Around 147 schools around the country are currently involved in trialing the draft Australian Curriculum. The feedback provided by these schools will inform development of the final K-10 Australian Curriculum.
Over 30,000 teachers and community members have already logged on to the Australian Curriculum website (www.australiancurriculum.edu.au) to provide feedback on the draft K-10 curriculum. ACARA has posted PDF versions of the K-10 curriculum for users who would like to download them. To provide feedback on the curriculum, you need to register your details on the website. The registration process will ask you for personal details, including which state you live in and if you are a teacher, principal, academic, parent or member of the community. We are asking for these details so that we can be satisfied that we have received feedback from a broad spectrum of the education community. We want to get feedback from all states and territories, from teachers and principals in government and non government schools, from parents and academics.
ACARA continues to welcome and encourage your feedback to the draft Australian Curriculum. The public consultation on the draft curriculum for English, mathematics, science and history for years K-10 is open until 23 May 2010.
Melbourne Curriculum consultation session
Following the consultation on the draft Australian Curriculum for English, mathematics, science and history, for years K-10 (May 2010) and senior secondary (June 2010), ACARA will work with an independent survey company to analyse and report on the consultation data.
Following a review of the draft curriculum, ACARA will publish the Australian Curriculum for these learning areas, in a digital format, in the last quarter of 2010.
Looking ahead, the Australian curriculum will be phased into schools. The K-10 Australian Curriculum for English, mathematics, science and history will be available for use in schools from the 2011 school year with the expectation that substantial implementation has taken place by the end of 2013. ACARA will play a national coordination role and work with state and territory education authorities in supporting their implementation planning. One of the ways that ACARA has done this is by conducting a curriculum mapping methodology to determine the level of similarities and differences between the Australian Curriculum and that of the state and territory curricula. This mapping exercise will assist each state and territory to determine focus of support required to implement the Australian Curriculum.
Mr Robert Randall and Mr Tony Mackay at the Melbourne Curriculum consultation session
There has been good progress on the Geography curriculum with an advisory panel (PDF) set up to provide advice to the lead curriculum writer, Associate Professor Alaric Maude. The initial advice paper is almost complete and a national forum of invited teachers, academics, industry members, representatives from professional associations, and curriculum authorities will be convened on 27 April 2010 in Sydney to review the paper before it is released as the draft geography shape paper for full public consultation in June 2010.
The Arts curriculum is progressing according to schedule with an arts advisory (PDF) group selected to work with the lead writer and discipline contributors in preparing the initial advice paper. Experts from the full range of arts disciplines, as well as industry experts, teachers, professional associations and education authorities, have been invited to review the initial advice paper at a national forum on 3 May. Following this feedback, the draft Arts Shape Paper will be available for public consultation in mid-2010.
The development of the initial advice paper for Languages has commenced. This paper provides advice on curriculum design and will be the subject of consultation at a national forum to be held in August. The initial advice will inform the Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Languages that, following a broad-based consultation, will be used to guide curriculum writers in the languages learning area.
Associate Professor Angela Scarino was appointed as lead writer to complete this work. Dr Jakelin Troy has been recently appointed to assist her by writing the sections relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages. Dr Troy holds the position of Assistant Professor, Curriculum Studies, Faculty of Education, University of Canberra. Associate Professor Angela Scarino and Dr Jakelin Troy will draft the initial advice with the support of an advisory group.
ACARA will report financial income data for all schools on the My School website this year. The Finance Data Working Group (FDWG), comprising representatives from states and territories, the independent school sector and the Catholic Education Commission, has been established in order to make recommendations on how to report financial data in the most useful and consistent way.
At its first meeting in Canberra on 1 March, the FDWG provided a recommendation on the funding sources that will be reported and will develop a methodology for apportioning funding according to the agreed reporting categories. ACARA has also engaged an independent auditor to assist with this project.
NAPLAN tests in 2010 will be held from Tuesday 11 May to Thursday 13 May. A timetable of tests is available on the NAPLAN website (www.naplan.edu.au). Test Administration Authorities are well under way with administrative arrangements in each jurisdiction. Test materials are currently being printed and packed for distribution to schools. Large-print and Braille versions of NAPLAN tests have been prepared for visually impaired students.
An additional test in Language Conventions will be administered to selected samples of students in Years 4, 6 and 8 during the NAPLAN testing week. Results from this study will enhance the measurement scales underpinning Language Conventions. If the trial is successful, it may be repeated in other domains (for example, Numeracy or Reading) in future years.
Work on NAPLAN 2011 is also under way. ACARA is working with specialist assessment teams at the Australian Council for Educational Research to develop items (test questions) in Reading, Language Conventions and Numeracy. A specialist team is investigating Writing for 2011. Over the next three months, these items will be reviewed by the Project Reference Group, which is made up of test managers and assessment experts from each jurisdiction.