ACARA news, February 2019

Release of National Report on Schooling 2017

28 February 2019

The National Report on Schooling in Australia 2017 has been released today. ACARA produces this report on behalf of the COAG Education Council

The national report is published as an annual record, complemented by the more extensive interactive data contained in the National Report on Schooling data portal.

The 2017 report includes a summary of nationally agreed policy initiatives and a report on national key performance measures. A dashboard represents any statistically significant changes in key performance measures, such as student participation: 


See the National Report on Schooling and the data portal

Research shows parents value NAPLAN, support the move to online

08 February 2019

Research undertaken by Colmar Brunton on behalf of ACARA shows that the majority of parents believe NAPLAN is valuable, particularly for the national snapshot it provides on their child’s progress in literacy and numeracy. Parents are also, on the whole, supportive of the move to NAPLAN Online.

“This research shows that parents generally keep NAPLAN in perspective. They understand that it is a point-in-time assessment, which is part of the regular school calendar,” said ACARA CEO, Robert Randall.

ACARA commissioned research with parents last year about their perceptions of NAPLAN, their understanding of its purpose and of the move to NAPLAN Online. The research included a quantitative survey of 1,200 parents in all states and territories. Qualitative research was also undertaken with 16 ninety-minute focus groups.

Findings from the research show:

  • The majority of parents (three out of five) believe that NAPLAN is valuable. NAPLAN is valued for providing parents with a snapshot of their child’s progress. 
  • Some negative views remained and parents noted a lack of familiarity with the format and content of NAPLAN tests.
  • Parental attitudes toward NAPLAN are influenced by the way in which the school positions the tests.
  • In general, parents are accepting of the move to NAPLAN Online. The main reason for supporting the move online is as it is seen as a natural progression.
  • The majority of parents believe that moving NAPLAN online will improve NAPLAN and result in a more engaging experience for students.
  • Parents with children who have already completed NAPLAN online expressed few concerns. While there were some issues with connectivity, online testing appears to have taken place with little impact on parents or students.

Read the Colmar Brunton: ACARA NAPLAN research (PDF 2.1 mb)

New ACARA CEO appointed

08 February 2019


The ACARA Board has appointed Mr David de Carvalho as the new Chief Executive Officer of ACARA. 

Mr de Carvalho brings to ACARA a wealth of leadership experience from the education sector, and from the public sector at both the Commonwealth and state government level. 

“On behalf of the ACARA Board and staff, I congratulate David on his appointment and am delighted to welcome him as ACARA’s new CEO. David has significant experience and expertise in education. He joins ACARA following his most recent position as Chief Executive of the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA),” said ACARA Board Chair, Belinda Robinson. 

“In addition to his depth of knowledge of the education sector, David has also served on ACARA’s Board since November 2017. I look forward to continue working with David and supporting his leadership of Australia’s national curriculum, assessment and reporting authority to achieve ACARA’s mission of improving the learning outcomes for all young Australians.”   

Mr de Carvalho was Chief Executive Officer of NESA from January 2017 and, prior to that, he was Deputy Secretary at the NSW Department of Family and Community Services. Mr de Carvalho has also led the National Catholic Education Commission and was Head of the Higher Education Division in the federal government Department of Education. He started his career as a secondary school teacher and has served on the boards of the Australian Council for Educational Research and the Curriculum Corporation (now Education Services Australia).  

Mr David de Carvalho was appointed following an extensive executive search process. He will commence with ACARA on 4 March 2019.  

The New Zealand Curriculum comparison study released

06 February 2019

Today we have published a study comparing the Australian Curriculum with The New Zealand Curriculum.

This follows the publication of other comparative studies in July 2018, which compared the Australian Curriculum with the curricula of British Columbia, Finland and Singapore.  

The comparative studies have been produced as part of ACARA’s research program to consider international trends and developments in curriculum design.  

Comparing the Australian Curriculum with the curricula of other countries and school systems can help inform future refinements and improvements of our curriculum, ensuring we continue to give our students the skills, knowledge and attributes they need to live and work in the 21st century.