ACARA Update, April 2015


Message from the CEO 201504222 R Randall

This Saturday, Anzac Day, is the time for reflection on the bravery and sacrifice of the many Australians who have served in war, as well as all those others who have served in the defence forces.

We recently published a video about the Australian Curriculum: history and its links to Anzac Day and its traditions. I think it is a useful resource that will help teachers in their instructional practice of this important day and I commend it to you.

In other news, NAPLAN is fast approaching, with the annual tests to take place on 12, 13 and 14 May. For some students, taking NAPLAN this year will be the last time they have a paper-based NAPLAN test. From 2017 (when this cohort takes the tests again), NAPLAN will be delivered online on an opt-in basis over two–three years, with all students to take NAPLAN online from 2019.

As NAPLAN 2015 approaches, we again start to hear the same sweeping statements and assertions questioning its value – in spite of numerous independent reports and parent testimonials declaring NAPLAN’s value.

2015 is the eighth NAPLAN year. Every year we listen to feedback and take steps to improve NAPLAN. Last year we chose not to release the writing genre in advance, encouraging the teaching of both narrative and persuasive writing techniques. This year, we have two writing questions – one for Year 3 and 5 students and one for Year 7 and 9. In 2016, NAPLAN will be aligned with the Australian Curriculum. And in 2017, the online assessment age will begin.

The debate about NAPLAN’s value is one from which we should move on. NAPLAN has been supported consistently by education authorities, policy makers, school authorities, principal associations, parents and students. NAPLAN development costs amount to a fraction of one per cent of education expenditure. The data we get are invaluable.

This is an exciting time for Australia’s assessment program as NAPLAN continues to evolve. The move online will provide better assessment, more precise results and faster turnaround of information to teachers and parents. We know some people want to continue with old NAPLAN debates, but we hope there are many more who understand the value and importance of ensuring our children have the foundation of literacy and numeracy in place. And if our children are struggling or need additional help, knowing this and seeking assistance for them as early as possible is paramount.


Robert Randall

Anzac Day 2015: Lest we forget 20150422 Anzac

On Saturday 25 April we reflect on the bravery and sacrifice of the many Australians who have served in wartime.

Anzac Day 2015 is particularly significant as it marks the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings – an important moment in Australian history. In Year 3 of the Australian Curriculum, students around the country learn about the significance of Anzac Day as a time of national commemoration. At various other points in the Australian Curriculum, students learn about our country’s experiences in wartime and the causes and impacts of war (on the battlefield and on the home front).

ACARA has developed a video about the Australian Curriculum: history and its links to Anzac Day and its traditions. Schools can also connect student learning in the Australian Curriculum: history to local and national community events and activities.


NAPLAN 2015: coming soon

20150421_NAPLAN_conversations_180The NAPLAN 2015 tests are fast approaching, with the assessments to take place on 12, 13 and 14 May.

NAPLAN helps parents and educators to see if our children are meeting important numeracy and literacy standards – good literacy and numeracy levels are fundamental to a child’s learning and development.

It is important to place NAPLAN into context and reassure children about its purpose – to identify, as early as possible, a child’s strengths and areas for development, so that we can make sure they are progressing in literacy and numeracy. Some people wonder if NAPLAN causes anxiety for children. It is natural for children to feel a little anxious before tests. We encourage familiarisation with NAPLAN, especially for Year 3 students. However, it is up to the adults in a child’s life to put NAPLAN into context – NAPLAN accounts for less than 4 hours of testing, 4 times over 7 years of schooling.

See our new infographic that shows how NAPLAN gets people talking.

The paper-based NAPLAN tests will be phased out from 2017, when NAPLAN starts to be delivered online on an opt-in basis over two–three years. All students will be taking NAPLAN online from 2019. See the NAP website for more information.

Read ACARA CEO, Robert Randall’s, recent opinion piece published in the Daily Telegraph (NSW News Corp print media), responding to criticism levelled at the value of NAPLAN.

20150423 PM

Primary Matters

Check out the latest edition of Primary Matters on the ACARA website.

Primary Matters is a newsletter that provides more information about ACARA’s projects assisting primary schools across Australia.