Curriculum activity report - July to September 2017

Eight illustrations of practice that demonstrate how teachers are embedding the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures Cross-Curriculum Priority (CCP) have been published on the Australian Curriculum website. The illustrations showcase innovative content and delivery of the three-dimensional nature of the Australian Curriculum represented in a diverse range of schools across Australia. The schools range from those with very few Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to those with 100%, reinforcing that the CCP is for all students in all schools.

The Curriculum Specialist, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education attended the World Indigenous Peoples Conference: Education in Toronto, Canada to investigate how other countries are developing their curriculum to be more inclusive. This will inform ACARA’s work on future refinements to the Australian Curriculum.

The Australian Curriculum’s General Capabilities attract considerable interest from international visitors to the website as well as individuals and groups who collaborate with ACARA’s Curriculum Specialists. Recent workshops have focused on Personal and Social Capability and Critical and Creative Thinking. An explanatory video about the General Capabilities is now available on the Australian Curriculum website.
To access this video, please go to the link below:

Please note that ACARA’s Curriculum Specialists for General Capabilities (Danielle Cavanagh) and Student Diversity (Robyn Copland) work with states and territories, on request, to support the use of the three-dimensional Australian Curriculum, and they welcome approaches from school authorities and other stakeholders. Where possible, this support should be made available to participants across all sectors. For further information, please contact Danielle or Robyn at ACARA.

This learning area is a focus of case studies being undertaken by numerous countries involved in the OECD Education 2030 Project. Specific projects, including the Preventative Health and National Sports Plan, Healthy Eating in Schools, Countering Violent Extremism training and draft Physical Literacy Standards, have also been the subject of consideration and feedback from ACARA.

Through tripartite collaboration with ACARA, groups of Catholic and government schools in South Australia are currently implementing units of work to teach and assess learning area content and general capabilities where these are applicable to child safety. Feedback from teachers about the associated professional learning has been extremely positive. Work samples are being developed and will be reviewed and annotated for possible inclusion on the AC website.

State and territory authorities and sectors continue to be supported in their implementation of the Australian Curriculum: HASS (Version 8.3) in F-6/7. The report on student performance in the 2016 NAP Civics and Citizenship Sample test has been completed, including a chapter detailing ways in which the Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship can support students in developing skills and knowledge in this area. The report will be published later in the year. Development of work samples in 7-10 Economics and Business and in each of the F-6/7 HASS sub-strands continues. The Curriculum Specialist, HASS is also collaborating with the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in their production of resources to support students learning about consumer and financial literacy. These resources will be published on the Curriculum Connections section of the Australian Curriculum website in due course.

The collection of high-quality samples of student work in a range of languages is well underway, with the aim of exemplifying achievement standards in all of the languages and two Frameworks offered in the Australian Curriculum. ACARA’s Curriculum Specialist, Languages has completed the first phase of workshops with consultants and teachers in Catholic, government and independent schools in the ACT, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania. The current focus is on aligning the work samples developed for Chinese, French, Indonesian, Italian and Japanese; these samples highlight students’ progress in listening, speaking, reading, writing and reflecting. In October, teachers from across the country will be at ACARA’s Sydney office to annotate the samples. Samples of work illustrating students’ performance ‘at’ the standard will be published on the Australian Curriculum website at the beginning of the 2018 academic year. The project will then expand to include Arabic, German, Modern Greek, Spanish and Vietnamese work samples. A big thank you to all principals, teachers and consultants who have participated so enthusiastically to date!

ACARA officers are in the process of reviewing and summarising stakeholder feedback on their experience of the implementation of the Australian Curriculum to inform the fourth annual monitoring report. For the 2016-2017 report, respondents were asked specifically about student diversity and how the Australian Curriculum is used to meet learners’ needs; the extent to which the Cross-Curriculum Priorities are being implemented; and the use of the material provided in relation to these on the Australian Curriculum website. The Director, Curriculum and the Senior Manager have recently met with curriculum authorities in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia to discuss local variations to the Australian Curriculum.

The report, due to be published early in 2018, also includes data related to the nature of the use of the Australian Curriculum website, a summary of media related to the Australian Curriculum and general enquiries, and a brief scan of international trends in curriculum design.

Consultation on version 1.1 of the National Literacy and Numeracy Learning Progressions took place from 14 July to 23 August 2017 with all state and territory school and curriculum authorities, key national ACARA advisory groups (F-12 Curriculum Reference Group, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Advisory Group, Students with Disability Advisory Group) and a selection of literacy and numeracy researchers and experts. Feedback is currently being analysed and directions for revision finalised. This follows development during 2016 in consultation with literacy and numeracy experts and trialling in 137 Australian schools between March and May 2017. Validation of the sequence of indicators in the progressions using NAPLAN items continues and will enable the development of linkage advice to the NAPLAN performance scale providing a representation of the relative difficulty of the levels across sub-elements. Findings from consultation and NAPLAN validation will inform the development of version 2 in September 2017. Version 2 will be considered by the ACARA Board in October; Schools Policy Group and AESOC in November; and Education Council in December 2017. Online publication of the progressions as a resource to support the Australian Curriculum will follow Education Council endorsement.


ACARA’s curriculum work is assisted by the Students with Disability Advisory Group (SWDAG). Meetings held to date have included a focus on ACARA’s program of research that will inform refinements to the Australian Curriculum. Members of the SWDAG are currently reviewing papers to help them develop criteria for effective research. SWDAG members have also provided feedback on two illustrations of practice (IoPs) for students with disability, which will shortly be added to the Australian Curriculum website. Two more videos are under development.

The Curriculum Specialists, Student Diversity and General Capabilities attended the 22nd Biennial World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (WCGTC) World Conference held at the University of New South Wales in Sydney in July. The focus was on global perspectives in gifted education, and ACARA’s staff valued the opportunity to be part of a rich agenda of national and international speakers presenting in this area of Student Diversity.

The Curriculum Specialists for Student Diversity (Robyn Copland) and General Capabilities (Danielle Cavanagh) work with states and territories, on request, to support the use of the three-dimensional Australian Curriculum, and they welcome approaches from school authorities and other stakeholders. Where possible, this support should be made available to participants across all sectors. For further information, please contact Danielle or Robyn using the contact list on the last page of this report.

Introductory workshops for the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) school education project known as Digital Technologies in focus: Supporting implementation of Digital Technologies have been held in the following locations since our initial trial: Burnie, Townsville, Port Lincoln, Kalgoorlie, Perth and Geraldton. With Julie King leading this project, Curriculum Officers have begun working with schools or are confirming schools, depending on the location of clusters. The officers are: Shane Byrne (NSW); Beth Claydon (QLD); Simon Collier (VIC and NT); Steve Grant (SA and NT); Sarah Hobson (NSW and QLD); Peter Lelong (TAS 0.5); Martin Levins (NSW and NT); Deanne Poole (WA); Kim Vernon (NSW and backfilling 0.5 as Curriculum Specialist, Technologies).

In August, the Curriculum Specialist: Technologies worked with state and territory colleagues at the National Literacy and Numeracy Learning Progressions workshops and with the NAP ICT-L working group to review data from the trial of the NAP-ICTL assessment. A forum on Initial Teacher Education was held at the ACARA office.

State and territory authorities are generously supporting ACARA’s collection of samples of students’ work to exemplify the Australian Curriculum’s achievement standards. ACARA’s Curriculum Specialists collaborate with government, Catholic and independent schools across the country to participate in workshops and develop tasks that will support teaching and learning. The learning areas in focus at this time are Languages, Humanities and Social Sciences (Civics and Citizenship, Economics and Business), English (F-6) and Mathematics (F-6).