Implications for teaching, assessing and reporting
The Australian Curriculum defines a solid foundation in knowledge, understanding, skills and values for all Australian children. It recognises that children are different: they develop at different rates, have different learning preferences and areas of interest, and have different aspirations.
The Australian Curriculum can be used flexibly by schools, according to jurisdictional and system policies and schedules, to develop programs that meet the educational needs of their students and that extend and challenge students.
The Australian Curriculum achievement standards are an important focus for teachers in initial planning and programming of teaching and learning activities. They provide teachers with a statement of learning expected of students at the end of a year or band of years, and assist in developing teaching and learning programs.
Teachers use the Australian Curriculum achievement standards and content to identify current levels of learning and achievement, and then to select the most appropriate content (possibly from across several year levels) to teach individual students and/or groups of students. Teachers develop teaching programs designed to build on current learning. In each class, there may be students with a range of prior achievement (below, at or above the year level expectations).
Teachers also use the achievement standards at the end of a period of teaching, to make on-balance judgements about the quality of learning demonstrated by students – that is, whether the students have achieved below, at or above the standard. To make judgements, teachers draw on assessment data they have collected as evidence during the course of the teaching period.
If an individual student’s achievement is below the expected standard, this suggests that the teaching programs and practice should be reviewed to better assist the student in their learning in the future. It also suggests that additional support and teaching that targets the student’s specific needs is necessary to ensure that the student does not fall behind.
Assessment of student learning takes place at different levels and for different purposes, including:
- ongoing formative assessment within classrooms for the purposes of monitoring learning and providing feedback, for teachers to inform their teaching, and for students to inform their learning
- summative assessment for the purposes of twice-yearly reporting by schools to parents and carers on the progress and achievement of students
- annual testing of Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 students’ levels of achievement in aspects of literacy and numeracy, conducted as a part of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN)
- periodic sample testing of specific learning areas within the Australian Curriculum as a part of the National Assessment Program (NAP).