ACARA Update, 27 February 2015


Welcome to the new and improved ACARA Update. We hope you like it. It is a part of our
commitment to 20150227 Rob Randallbringing you ACARA’s news and information in as clear a way as possible.

2015 has already been a busy year for us at ACARA. In January we announced that the 2015 NAPLAN writing assessment will have two writing prompts – one for Years 3 and 5, and a different prompt for Years 7 and 9 – instead of the previous single prompt for all year levels.

We have also been working on advice, in response to the review of the Australian Curriculum, for the Education Council. The advice addresses the themes contained in the Australian Government’s initial response to the review: uncrowding the curriculum, parental engagement, improving accessibility and rebalancing the curriculum.

In early March we will release the latest update to the My School websiteMy School is about fair comparisons among schools with students from similar socio-educational backgrounds. My School provides comparisons using the index of community and socio-educational advantage (ICSEA), which we developed here at ACARA. My School contains a set of quality data that schools, teachers, parents and the wider community can use to help ensure every child in every classroom receives a high-quality education.

Moving NAPLAN online is also a key priority for us this year (and for the next few years). We will continue to keep you updated with the latest research and developments in our move to online assessment, such as next month’s NAP – science literacy field trials, which will be delivered online to over 1000 students.

We hope you enjoy this issue of ACARA Update. Feel free to send any feedback to [email protected] 


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National Assessment Program (NAP) sample assessments:
2015 science literacy trials

NAP sample assessments test students’ skills and understanding in the areas of science literacy, civics and citizenship, and information and communication technology (ICT) literacy on a rolling three-yearly basis. 2015 is the turn of science literacy. Only selected groups of students in Year 6 participate in these sample assessments.

In March 50 schools and over 1,000 Year 6 students from New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria will participate in the field trial. The trials test the logistics of performing the assessments, check the quality of the test questions, clarify the administrative procedures and allow for any arising issues to be fixed before the actual assessments are carried out later in the year.

Schools taking part in the NAP sample assessments benefit by having the opportunity to engage with state-of-the-art assessment materials, which are being delivered online for this assessment and form a part of the wider move to bring all National Assessment Program assessments – including NAPLAN – online. Participating schools in this trial will be provided with an ‘online technical readiness test’ prior to the assessments.

The field trial will be administered between 16 and 27 March. All field trial schools have been confirmed and preparations for the successful delivery of this assessment are underway.

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Students engaged in an online NAP sample assessment event in 2014 


Sydney Symphony Orchestra teaches the teachers201450227 SSO

In January, 50 NSW primary school teachers took part in TunED-UP!, a five day residency program run by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) to support primary teachers in up-skilling and delivering music education in their classrooms and schools.

The privately funded program was piloted by the SSO in 2014 and delivered to 25 primary school teachers. This year, participants doubled to 50 teachers over two weeks. ACARA’s Senior Project Officer for the arts curriculum, Linda Lorenza, attended the program and discussed the Australian Curriculum: music with the participants.