Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority

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ACARA news, December 2015

 

Australian Curriculum: Technologies paper with a focus on critical and creative thinking

18 December 2015

A paper by Julie King, ACARA's Curriculum Lead for digital technologies, has been published in the Australian Curriculum Studies Association (ACSA) December newsletter.

Read the paper on the ACSA website


 

My School updated with 2015 Term 3 student attendance data

18 December 2015

Today, the My School website has been updated with 2015 Term 3 student attendance data.

Attendance data are reported on all students, Indigenous students and non-Indigenous students. In addition to average school attendance rate, the proportion of students in a school attending 90 per cent or more of the time is also reported. Data are suppressed where students numbers are less than, or equal to, five students.

This update follows on from the release of Semester 1 student attendance data in November 2015.

Attendance data reporting is a COAG (the Council of Australian Governments) initiative to help improve learning outcomes for Indigenous students by monitoring their attendance. Data are reported twice a year, for Semester 1 (Terms 1 and 2) and Term 3.


Reappointment of ACARA’s CEO

16 December 2015

The Chair of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, Emeritus Professor Steven Schwartz AM, has announced that the ACARA Board has approved the reappointment of Mr Robert Randall as Chief Executive Officer of ACARA. Mr Randall’s reappointment is effective from February 2016 for a three-year term.

Mr Randall was first appointed to the position of Chief Executive Officer in 2012. Prior to that, Mr Randall held the position of General Manager, Curriculum, at ACARA from 2009.

Professor Schwartz said today, “On behalf of the ACARA Board, I am pleased to reappoint Mr Randall for a further term as Chief Executive Officer. Mr Randall is a highly regarded education leader and will continue to bring strong leadership to ACARA to realise its aim to improve the learning outcomes for all young Australians”. 


 

Released:
the Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages;
Hindi and Turkish curricula

16 December 2015

Following endorsement by the Education Council last week, ACARA has released further language curricula as a part of the Australian Curriculum: Languages. The Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages, and Hindi and Turkish curricula have now been published on the Australian Curriculum website.

Framework for Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages

In the Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Languages paper, a framework for Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages was identified as necessary for development. The framework builds on existing language frameworks for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages already used in some states and territories.

“Given there are at least 250 distinct Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages, it is important to note that this is a framework for languages, not a curriculum. A framework approach allows language-specific curriculum to be developed at a local level, within a nationally consistent structure,” says ACARA CEO Robert Randall.

Of the 250 Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages, only 17 are currently used for everyday communication by whole communities across all generations. Communities across Australia are now working actively towards reviving other ‘sleeping’ languages with the goal that they may once again spoken within communities. 

The Framework provides for three pathways for students to embark on their language study, to cater for students who come from a variety of learning backgrounds:

  • First Language Learner Pathway (for those students who have the language as their speak-at-home language)
  • Second Language Learner Pathway (for those who have English as their speak-at-home language)
  • Language Revival Learner Pathway (for the revival of ‘sleeping’ languages).

"This framework represents a significant step in acknowledging the importance and value of Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages. In developing the framework, extensive public consultations, community forums and online consultations were undertaken,” says Mr Randall.

Two hundred and forty people participated in the community consultation forums across Australia, representing over 80 Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages.

The benefits of Aboriginal languages taught in schools can be astronomical. For example, there is one school in our town with students from numerous different ethnic backgrounds. By teaching Wiradjuri, the first culture of this country, the whole school community (including students, teachers, parents) also becomes respectful of all cultures, so much that we boast zero racism. Through learning to respect and trust our local Aboriginal culture, they become open to other cultures as well.

Geoff Anderson, Parkes Wiradjuri Language Group
Member of the Wiradjuri Council of Elders,
NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and First Languages Australia

Language curriculum will be developed at a local level and is a local community decision. Given the protocols and sensitivities involved, as a part of the process of the development of their language curriculum, schools are expected to talk to their curriculum authority and local land council for guidance.

View our video about the new framework for Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages, featuring ACARA Manager, Curriculum, Dr Tracey McAskill. 

Hindi and Turkish

Hindi and Turkish were identified as languages our community wanted to see included in the Australian Curriculum.

Funded by the Australian Government, the Hindi and Turkish language curricula have been developed to recognise Australia’s relationships with both India and Turkey, our important trade links, and the significant number of Australians originating from these countries. 

His Excellency Mr Reha Keskintepe, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Australia, says:

“Language, culture and ethnicity are inherently interlinked. Children can connect best with different cultures, their family, history, identity and religion through language. With 150,000 Australians of Turkish origin, we acknowledge ACARA's valuable efforts to include the Turkish language in the Australian national curriculum.”

Professor Nihal S. Agar, AM, President of the Hindu Council of Australia, says:

“It is with great pleasure that I support ACARA's release of the Hindi language as part of the Australian Curriculum. I am sure the benefits will be seen in the Indian community and beyond.”
Whilst these languages curricula are now available, the implementation of endorsed curriculum is a matter for state and territory school and curriculum authorities – they decide when and how the Australian Curriculum is implemented in their state or territory, depending on local contexts.

Further language curricula in development by ACARA are: AUSLAN, classical Greek and Latin (funded by the Australian Government).


 

Your child and the Australian Curriculum: fact sheets for parents released

16 December 2015

In order to improve parents’ access to the Australian Curriculum, today ACARA has released a suite of materials designed for parents. Seven fact sheets, written in plain English, describe what is typically taught in each learning area at different year bands throughout school.

In developing these materials, ACARA consulted with parents and parent groups, who provided valuable feedback. The materials will be available as PDF documents that can be printed out by schools, teachers and parents.

An extra section to the Australian Curriculum website has also been released, which hosts these materials along with a series of FAQs.

The publication of these materials is one of ACARA’s actions to address the four themes outlined in the Australian Government’s initial response to the Review of the Australian Curriculum, namely taking actions to improve parental access to the Australian Curriculum.

To see the series of fact sheets and FAQs, visit the new ‘Parents’ section of the Australian Curriculum website. 



Australian Curriculum website: resources updated

16 December 2015

The Australian Curriculum website has been updated to version 8.1 that includes additional functionality and features:

  • New resources:
    • sequence of achievement for each learning area. These show the progression of expected learning from Foundation to Year 10.
    • achievement on a page for each year or band of years. These show expected learning in a year or band of years across all learning areas.
  • There are updated sequence of content (previously called scope and sequence) resources for each learning area, which show the progression of learning from Foundation to Year 10.  
  • The functionality for users to print the curriculum in Microsoft Word format has been re-enabled. Users now can download and print each learning area in PDF or Microsoft Word format.

Visit the Australian Curruculum website to see the additional functionality and features.

For full information on the updates of the Australian Curriculum, visit the 'Curriculum version history' page of the Australian Curriculum website.



Coming soon: new language curricula endorsed

11 December 2015

Today the Education Council has endorsed the Australian Curriculum: Languages in Hindi and Turkish and a framework for Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages (PDF 214 kb). These will be published on the Australian Curriculum website next week.

Funded by the Australian Government, the Hindi and Turkish language curricula have been developed to recognise Australia’s relationships with both India and Turkey, our important trade links, and the significant number of Australians originating from these countries.

The Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages builds on existing language frameworks, already used in some states and territories. Given there are at least 250 distinct Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, this is a framework for languages; it is not a curriculum. A framework approach allows language-specific curricula to be developed at a local level, giving teaching of a language a consistent structure.

The implementation of endorsed curricula is a matter for state and territory school and curriculum authorities – they decide when and how the Australian Curriculum is implemented in their state or territory, depending on local contexts.



The Australian Curriculum: fact sheets for parents coming soon

11 December 2015

Following noting from the Education Council today, ACARA will soon release a series of fact sheets for parents about the Australian Curriculum.

The materials will be available on the Australian Curriculum website from next week, in a newly created section for parents. Seven fact sheets, written in plain English, describe what is typically taught in each learning area at different year bands throughout school.



ACARA's response to a column in The Conversation

3 December 2015

ACARA has responded to a column in The Conversation by Michael Phillips regarding the teaching of ICT skills in schools.

Read the response from Dr Phil Lambert, PSM, General Manager of Curriculum at ACARA (PDF 73 kb)


 

NAPLAN 2015 results: overall stable student achievement

2 December 2015

Released by the Education Council, the 2015 NAPLAN National Report has been published on the NAP website, confirming the initial findings of the summary information released in August. The report shows stable student achievement – relative to 2008 and 2014, with some improvements nationally and in each state and territory (for some year levels and some domains).

The NAPLAN National Report provides nationally comparable data on the 2015 national and state/territory results for each test domain. It provides comparisons of performance by gender, Indigenous status, language background other than English status, parental occupation, parental education and school location.

The report shows:

  • Stable student achievement: whilst the results show some improvements nationally and in each state and territory (for some year levels and some domains), the overall findings point to stable student achievement, relative to 2008 (base year) and 2014 (prior year).
  • Moderate statistically significant increases in Year 3 reading achievement: relative to 2008, there has been an increase in Year 3 reading performance, maintaining the upward trend in Year 3 reading results observed since 2009.
  • Moderate statistically significant increases in Year 3 grammar and punctuation achievement: relative to 2008, there has been an increase in Year 3 grammar and punctuation performance, maintaining the upward trend observed since 2009.
  • Moderate statistically significant increases in Year 5 spelling achievement: relative to 2008, there has been an increase in Year 5 spelling performance (gradual improvement over the past several years).
  • Moderate statistically significant increases in Year 5 numeracy achievement: relative to 2008, there has been an increase in Year 5 numeracy performance, maintaining the upward trend observed since 2009. 
  • Moderate statistically significant increases in Year 3 persuasive writing relative to 2014: there has been a moderate increase in persuasive writing mean achievement relative to 2014 for Year 3 students.
  • Moderate statistically significant decreases in Years 7 and 9 persuasive writing relative to 2011: there has been a moderate decrease in persuasive writing achievement relative to 2011 for Years 7 and 9 students.

ACARA’s CEO, Robert Randall, says: “The high-performing jurisdictions (ACT, NSW and Victoria) have maintained their relatively higher achievement levels in most domains.

“Additionally, it is encouraging to note that Western Australia shows a moderate increase in reading achievement in all year levels and Queensland shows a substantial increase in 2015 reading achievement in Year 3, and a moderate increase in Years 5 and 7 reading achievement.

“There have also been statistically significant increases in Indigenous student reading performance in Years 5 and 7 – an increase in Indigenous student performance relative to 2008 has been maintained.”

The trend in increases in the withdrawal and absent rates appears to have been arrested, as percentages of withdrawn and absent students in 2015 are very similar to those observed in 2014.

2015 NAPLAN Test Incidents Report

The NAPLAN 2015 Test Incidents Report (PDF 89 kb) has been released with the national report. Test incidents can include cheating, security breaches and other general breaches.

There were 42 test incidents substantiated in 2015, a decrease in substantiated incidents from last year (51). Six incidents were cheating, nine were a security breach and 27 were a ‘general breach’. 

See our graphic with the key findings of the report (PDF 107 kb)