The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is an independent statutory authority that will improve the learning of all young Australians through world-class school curriculum, assessment and reporting.
Assessment: We run the National Assessment Program – the national tests students sit in school – including NAPLAN. We undertake a range of research activities to deliver NAPLAN tests in an online environment in the future.
Reporting: We are responsible for collecting and publishing information on My School about the performance and resources of more than 9500 schools around the country. We publish a range of reports, including the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) national report.
23 July 2015
NAPLAN testing is moving online in 2017. This is not a money saving exercise nor is it simply the whim of "bureaucrats and technocrats" as some critics suggest. Computerised testing is a way of making NAPLAN more timely and precise. Results will be available more rapidly and, for the first time, tests will be tailored to student ability. ACARA is currently conducting the research and planning necessary to ensure that NAPLAN tests are implemented fairly and equitably.
Some writers have expressed concern that students who are not familiar with computers may be disadvantaged when NAPLAN testing goes online. There are two possible solutions to this problem. One is to retain written tests. This does nothing to alleviate disadvantage; it simply accepts and entrenches it. The other solution to making computerised testing fair is to ensure that all students are familiar with computers. ACARA prefers the second approach because the ability to use computers is a vital skill that every student deserves to learn. This is why information technology is included in the Australian Curriculum. Implementing the curriculum will ensure that students are prepared to use computers and will not be disadvantaged when NAPLAN goes online.
Professor Steven Schwartz AM
Pre-primary to Year 10 Curriculum release for WA
21 July 2015
ACARA welcomes the Western Australian School Curriculum and Standards Authority release of year-level syllabuses for the following pre-primary – Year 10 learning areas:
• Humanities and Social Sciences
• Health and Physical Education
• The Arts.
WA is getting on with the implementation of the Australian Curriculum, with the expectation these new syllabuses will be implemented from 2018.
New ACARA Board Chair, Emeritus Professor Steven Schwartz AM
24 June 2015
Minister for Education and Training, the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP, today announced Emeritus Professor Steven Schwartz AM (pictured right) as the new Chair of the ACARA Board.
“Professor Schwartz will provide an ‘experienced pair of hands’ as ACARA’s work enters its next phase,” Mr Pyne said.
“[He] couldn’t be better placed to take on this challenging role given his excellent record as an outstanding educationalist and is highly regarded as an organisational leader, known for his vision and strategic leadership skills.”
27 July 2015
ACARA welcomes the release of a research report from the Grattan Institute, Targeted teaching: how better data can improve every student’s learning. The research looks at how targeted teaching can enable students to reach their full potential and reinforces the importance of quality data in this process.
We agree with the general conclusions in the report and welcome the contribution that the report will make to discussion about the role of evidence and data in quality education.
The report’s authors state that NAPLAN has a ‘…vital role to play in assessing student learning’ and that ‘NAPLAN provides essential data for system monitoring. It can point to areas of strength and weakness in the classroom, and provide guidance as to where teachers should look more closely’.
ACARA appreciates the report’s commentary that, following the latest My School release, ‘the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority’s (ACARA) recent efforts to highlight schools where students have made the largest gains in NAPLAN is a welcome example [of recognising progress]’.
ACARA acknowledges some of the issues raised in the research report regarding NAPLAN. With the move to NAPLAN Online from 2017 it is expected these matters will be addressed.
The report also acknowledges that we have ‘a strong national curriculum’. The Australian Curriculum is designed to allow teachers the flexibility to teach a range of abilities to enable us to work together to improve the learning of all young Australians.
Queensland: individual student reports will be posted to schools from 27 July
27 July 2015
ACARA commends the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) on its decision to release NAPLAN individual student reports to schools from 27 July. The early distribution of the individual student reports will provide parents and carers with the opportunity to identify their child’s strengths and achievements in the areas of literacy and numeracy and identify any areas where attention is required. This builds on the Australian Government’s commitment for faster turnaround of NAPLAN results.
This early return of reports to parents in Queensland builds on the release of ‘raw’ NAPLAN data by the QCAA to schools at the commencement of Term 3. The raw data provides schools with the opportunity to immediately identify areas where students experienced difficulty, to reflect on their curriculum and teaching and to take action to address any issues.
This year’s NAPLAN was held on 12 – 14 May 2015. The preliminary NAPLAN summary information will be released on 5 August on the NAP website. It is expected that other states/territories will be distributing individual student reports to parents across August and September.
20 July 2015
My School was developed to provide readily accessible information about the almost 10,000 schools across Australia. One of the features of My School is its focus on enabling fair comparisons to be made between schools with the intention of celebrating success or identifying areas for improvement.
ACARA has been updating data on My School since 2008 and we now provide seven years of valuable data in one location. This allows for comparisons of results from schools with students from similar socio-educational backgrounds using the index of community socio-educational advantage (ICSEA). It is ICSEA that enables fair comparisons to be made between schools with statistically similar groups of students.
We believe that publication of data that enable fair comparisons is important. This facilitates open conversations and allows for the sharing of lessons and learning between educators about school achievements and ultimately supports and drives improvement nationally.
The use of My School data by Fairfax media to develop the ‘School Report 2015’ has not been approved by ACARA. However, it is noted that Fairfax has taken some steps to alert users of its tool of the possibility of unfair comparisons with the ICSEA value for the schools predominantly displayed in the school comparisons. Users of the site should note this to ensure fair comparisons are made between schools.
15 July 2015
Ever wondered how the process works from our students taking the NAPLAN tests, to that school-wide data being uploaded on to the My School website?
Take a look at our updated infographic which shows this timeline.
Reminder: Hindi and Turkish language curricula consultation closes tomorrow
13 July 2015
National public consultation on the draft Australian Curriculum: Languages for Hindi and Turkish closes tomorrow, 14 July 2015.
The curriculum documents are available to view online on the Australian Curriculum consultation portal and feedback can be provided via registering on thewebsite or by contacting the languages team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 July 2015
The public consultation period for Hindi and Turkish language curricula closes on 14 July.
Visit the Australian Curriculum: Consultation website to review the curricula and provide feedback.
1 July 2015
ACARA’s Senior Project Officer, Technologies, Julie King, is presenting an overview of the Australian Curriculum: digital technologies at the Queensland Education Resources Expo (QUEDREX) in Brisbane on 25 and 26 July.
Visit the QUEDREX website for more information.