ACARA news, August 2016

Release of further work samples to interactive platform

31 August 2016

New work samples for The Arts: Dance, Drama, Media Arts and Music, for Foundation – Year 2, Years 3–4 and Years 5–6, Health and PE for Years 7–8 and 9–10 as well as Work Studies Years 9 and 10 are now available on the Australian Curriculum website’s work samples interactive platform.

Work samples portfolios show student achievement of curriculum standards for above, at and below satisfactory levels. The portfolios support teachers and schools to make balanced judgements of student performance over time, in relation to the relevant achievement standard.

The new work samples add to those made available on the interactive platform in June 2016 – Visual Arts, Digital Technologies, Design and Technologies, and Health and Physical Education for Foundation – Year 2, Years 3–4 and Years 5–6.

Previously work samples were available in PDF format only. Now, work samples portfolios are published on the Australian Curriculum: work samples new interactive website. This new interactivity will allow the user to compare work samples that are above, at and below satisfactory more easily. 

Work sample portfolios will continue to be rolled out every two months until December this year.

Portfolios have been selected, annotated and reviewed by classroom teachers and curriculum experts. 

New maths resource released

31 August 2016

Teachers who want support to implement the proficiencies in the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics have some additional guidance with the release by ACARA of a new mathematics resource.

The four proficiency areas students are expected to develop in the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics – understanding, fluency, problem-solving and reasoning – are explored in this new resource. 

The resource provides illustrations of practice and student work samples, gathered from a number of primary and secondary schools from different sectors across Australia; it has been designed to assist teachers to incorporate the proficiencies into teaching practice.

Development of the resource, now available on the Australian Curriculum website, was funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

STEM projects show value of bringing subjects together

31 August 2016

Last year, ACARA partnered with the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT) to investigate how science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education can be better delivered in schools.

Thirteen schools around the country were supported to develop integrated projects, bringing together the STEM subjects. The projects aimed to identify explicit connections for students between classroom learning in STEM and future work/learning opportunities. 

STEM in the playground 

One example saw an innovative new playground design for Cherrybrook Technology High School – a direct result of the school’s STEM project. Students managed every aspect of the design, could justify their design on scientific and mathematical grounds and used sophisticated technology tools to present it to the best effect. The project was a classic example of successful STEM integration. A report on this study is available on the 'Information materials' page of the ACARA website.

Illustrations of practice and student work samples have now been published on the Australian Curriculum website to illustrate integration of STEM-related subjects in schools. 


ACARA's corporate plan published

31 August 2016

The ACARA Corporate Plan 2016–17 sets out the agency’s purposes and performance measures for the 2016–17 year as well as its responsibilities and priorities for the next four years. It contains an overview by the Chair of the ACARA Board, operating principles, working environment, capabilities, risk oversight and accountability.

The corporate plan is informed by ACARA’s Charter and published in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

Visit the 'Publications' page of the ACARA website to see the ACARA Corporate Plan 2016–17.

ACARA responds to misinformed NAPLAN article

18 August 2016

A recent article in The Conversation (12 August 2016) put forward an incorrect view that NAPLAN results cannot be compared across years and questioned the reliability of using NAPLAN as a tool for charting individual student progress across school years as well as charting the progress of year groups. This view is based on demonstrably false assumptions and interpretations.

NAPLAN is reliable and comparable across test cycles and school years. “Year to year” (or longitudinal) equating of NAPLAN tests to enable comparison of results across the years is achieved by the use of secure equating NAPLAN tests undertaken by a representative sample of Australian students approximately two weeks before the same students sit the main NAPLAN test.  ACARA’s longitudinal equating uses responses gathered from two full-length NAPLAN tests. It is not “a small subset of NAPLAN test items” as claimed in the article.

The NAPLAN equating process has been developed using world’s best standards and practices, and is similar to that used by international large-scale assessments such as PISA. The equating of NAPLAN tests is also subject to annual validation by ACARA’s independent Measurement Advisory Group (MAG)

It is also incorrect to claim that individual students’ error measurement increases the error measurement for the year cohort. The opposite is true. Increases in the sample and cohort size lead to a reduction of the error. Errors of measurement at the reported national and state and territory level results  are significantly lower than that at the individual student level.

Information about the processes and all of the statistics used in NAPLAN equating are publicly available on ACARA’s websites.

It is disappointing that incorrect assertions are made about the validity and reliability of the test based on factually incorrect claims, particularly given that no check was made with ACARA staff in advance of the article being written.

NAPLAN test results complements assessment data generated in schools but provides a national reference point for judging achievement and progress. This information helps parents and educators see how well Australia’s children are meeting important numeracy and literacy standards. 

Read ACARA's full response to the article here.

Parents to receive NAPLAN 2016 individual student reports this month

16 August 2016

The NAPLAN 2016 summary information was released on 3 August 2016 and parents of students who participated in this year’s NAPLAN will start receiving their individual student reports this month.

ACT All reports expected to be delivered in schools by Thursday 18 August
NSW Delivery commences Monday 15 August, with anticipated receipt in schools from Tuesday 16 August.
NT Delivery commences from Tuesday 2 August, with all reports due in schools between 11 and 24 August (dates dependent on Australia Post).
Qld Delivery commences from Wednesday 27 July, with bulk of reports expected in schools Monday 15 August. The most remote schools can be up to a month depending on connections being met.
SA All reports are expected to be delivered to schools by no later than Tuesday 19 August.
Tas Distribution of reports starts from the week beginning Monday 1 August, some schools may not receive their reports until week beginning 8 August.
Vic All reports expected to be delivered in schools during the week beginning Monday 15 August.
WA Reports will start arriving in schools from Wednesday 17 August.

Read the NAPLAN 2016 parent brochure (PDF 425 kb)

Understanding NAPLAN online video

10 August 2016

NAPLAN will move online from 2017 over a two–three year period. 

Moving NAPLAN online will bring new opportunities for students and teachers, which are not possible with paper-based tests, including better assessment, more precise results and faster turnaround of information.

New opportunities include 'tailored testing', which gives students questions better suited to their achievement level and which will result in better assessment and more precise results.  

As NAPLAN moves online, options to further enhance the experience for students and value for teachers will be considered. These will be subject to consultation, assessment and normal approval processes. At this point in time, there are no plans to introduce changes such as retaking NAPLAN tests.  

See ACARA’s new video that explains why NAPLAN is moving online:

Understanding NAPLAN online - video

NAPLAN results: significant gains over time, plateaus for 2016

03 August 2016

Today ACARA has released the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) 2016 summary information. 

The data released demonstrate that, compared with 2008 (the first year of NAPLAN), there have been gains in all content areas (except for writing), but not for all year groups. See the NAPLAN 2016 graphic (PDF 109 kb) for more information.

“There have been some significant gains in some domains in each state and territory, with Western Australia and Queensland standing out more than others", says Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, Robert Randall. 

“NAPLAN is about driving improvement in schools across the country. The data allow us to celebrate success and to identify areas for improvement. NAPLAN also contributes to the sharing of successful strategies within and across states and territories, with the goal of improving learning across the country.”

“We are concerned, however, that on a national level the results have shown no significant improvement across the domains and year levels from 2015. Plateauing results are not what we should expect or assume from our education systems”, continues Robert Randall. “ACT, NSW and Victoria continue to have the highest mean achievement across the NAPLAN domains, although it would be encouraging to see improvement in these places along with further improvements in other states and territories.”

“Literacy and numeracy are the foundation of learning in and beyond school. Literacy and numeracy achievement needs to improve to ensure the wellbeing of individual students and the country as a whole."

During August 2016, state and territory test administration authorities will be releasing individual student reports to schools for distribution to parents.

The final National Report will be available in December and provides a detailed analysis of how students perform in each year level, state/territory and by various demographics on a national scale in each of the four test domains.

Read the NAPLAN 2016 summary information on the NAP website

Read ACARA’s media release (PDF 92 kb)