ACARA news, September 2015

Australian Curriculum: endorsed and improved

18 September 2015

Today the Education Council has endorsed Australian Curriculum in eight learning areas.

The Australian Curriculum that was endorsed includes:

  • The revised Foundation – Year 10 Australian Curriculum: English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, The Arts, Technologies and Health and Physical Education.
  • Foundation – Year 10 Australian Curriculum: Languages for Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Modern Greek, Spanish and Vietnamese.
  • Australian Curriculum: Work Studies, Years 9–10 (an optional subject designed to ready young people for work).

Revisions have been made to previously available Australian Curriculum to make the curriculum easier to manage, particularly for primary schools, simplify the curriculum’s presentation and strengthen the focus on literacy.

For over two decades, Australia has been moving towards a national approach to schooling, including a national curriculum. After all this time, and through collaborative efforts led by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) and involving all Australian states and territories, the first truly Australian Curriculum is now available for use in Australian schools.

It is a national curriculum built on the best state and territory curricula and shaped by comparison with the best from overseas.

But curriculum is only one part of the story of school learning. The Australian Curriculum does not specify how content must be taught. Schools and teachers have flexibility to make decisions about how they teach the curriculum in accordance with the needs of their students, the requirements of their school and local curriculum authorities.

Robert Randall, ACARA CEO, said today, “I welcome today’s endorsement of the Australian Curriculum by the Education Council. It is too early yet to see the true benefits of the national curriculum, but I am confident that young people and the nation are better off as a result of the work done by tens of thousands of people during the last few years. The Australian Curriculum, along with ACARA’s national assessment and reporting programs, are foundations for improving learning outcomes for all young Australians, regardless of where they live or the socio-educational advantages or disadvantage they may have”.

From late October, the newly endorsed Foundation – Year 10 Australian Curriculum: English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, The Arts, Technologies, Health and Physical Education; the eleven Foundation to Year 10 Australian Curriculum for Languages and the Australian Curriculum: Work Studies, Years 9–10 will be made available on the Australian Curriculum website as version 8.0. Further information will be provided at that time.

Read our media release (PDF 46 kb)

See Minister Pyne's media release

Research will help inform our move online

04 September 2015

As a part of a comprehensive research and development plan to prepare NAPLAN for online administration,  ACARA recently released information about three research trials into student engagement with online assessment across reading, numeracy and spelling.

So far the results from the research have been promising, indicating that most students are engaged and working well in the online environment. As it is designed to do, the research is identifying what’s working well, pinpointing issues and providing us with information and evidence to help us to address those issues. We are working with schools to ensure that the challenges of moving online are identified and addressed well before that first online NAPLAN test is sat by students in May 2017.

We are releasing the results of the research in full so that the community has all information that we have about the progress being made towards this important milestone. In some cases, the research tells us to keep doing what we are doing. In other cases, we find out that more support and training is needed for teachers and students before the test begins.

The observations of students completing the tests are helping us to refine the directions we give students and ensure the questions they are answering reflect what they are learning. And finally, the research is assisting us to include questions accessible to all students and compatible with all electronic devices.

NAPLAN online will change NAPLAN for the better. It will provide better assessment, more precise results and faster turnaround of information. It will better meet the needs of students and it will help teachers tailor their teaching more specifically to student needs. Working with educators and students, ACARA is working to ensure all are ready to move NAPLAN online. The research is doing what it is supposed to do.

Trials suggest student engagement enhanced by the move to NAPLAN online

02 September 2015

Between August and October 2014, ACARA conducted three research trials into student engagement with online assessment: two looking at student engagement with technically enhanced items (one for reading and one for numeracy), and one with audio files (for spelling). The research trials were funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

While these trials were limited in terms of sample size, the results from them are promising and form part of an ongoing research program conducted by ACARA to support the move to NAPLAN online.

Read the full research reports on the NAP website