ACARA Update, 31 August 2017


Why is NAPLAN moving online?

Federal, state and territory education ministers agreed that NAPLAN would move online over a three-year transition period. NAPLAN Online will provide better assessment, faster turnaround of results to teachers and parents, more precise measurement of student ability and will be more engaging for students. The transition period allows time for all schools to become prepared and be ready.

For more information, visit the NAP website view the Understanding NAPLAN Online video.

School readiness test: feedback

School readiness testing for the move to NAPLAN Online is occurring in schools around the country during August and September. The purpose of the test is to make sure each school is ready to take NAPLAN online. The three-year implementation period to move to NAPLAN Online ensures all schools have time to build their technical capacity and be ready. The feedback so far has been positive overall.

The NSW Education Standards Authority believes the school readiness test is proving to be fun for students and staff in NSW schools.

The school readiness test is proving to be highly engaging for students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9. Feedback has been positive from students and school staff who have participated in the first weeks of the school readiness test.

NSW schools are currently participating in a school readiness test from 14 August to 22 September 2017 to assess if they are ready to move to NAPLAN Online.

A Year 7 student from Hastings Secondary College, Westport Campus said, “I really hope they decide for it to be done this way because I reckon more kids will stay interested and answer more of the questions….it’s like taking a quiz!”

Both primary and high school students are experiencing the benefits. A Barrington Public School year 3 student said it was “Too easy! Not stressful at all, I was a bit worried at the start, but there’s nothing to be scared about”.

“Our students were excited and have asked daily about the tests. They were engaged and participated with enthusiasm”, says Yagoona Public School Principal, Meaghan Wilson.

Over 500 NSW schools have participated in the school readiness test so far.


The importance of a History curriculum

Following recent discussions about history and what is taught in schools, ACARA CEO, Robert Randall, reiterates the importance of the subject:

The study of history is a significant part of the education of all young Australians. It helps students to appreciate how the world and its people has changed, and to value what we have learnt and gained from what happened in the past.

Read for yourself what we want young people to learn by visiting the Australian Curriculum website.

Studying history helps us know who we are – as individuals, as a community and as a nation. History provides our students with insights into the past – the good that has happened as well as the bad – and provides them with the skills and knowledge to shape their future.

The Australian Curriculum: History provides students with the opportunity to explore a great variety of topics, including stories of the First Fleet, the reasons for the journey, the people who travelled to Australia, and their experiences upon arrival. In the same area of the curriculum, students can learn about Australia’s first peoples and their experiences before, during and after the arrival of Europeans.  

The Australian Curriculum: History seeks to develop young people’s ability to ask relevant questions; critically analyse and interpret sources; consider context; respect and explain different perspectives; develop and prove interpretations, and communicate effectively. It is important to remember that the Australian Curriculum does not specify how content must be taught. Schools and teachers have the flexibility to make decisions about how they teach the curriculum. They are the best placed to do so in their classrooms.

This gives schools and local curriculum authorities the ability to tailor their History curriculum to add local aspects relevant to their geographical area and student needs and interests.

Robert Randall,


Digital Technologies in Focus: update

ACARA’s Digital Technologies in Focus project, which provides support and expertise to primary and secondary school teachers to implement the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies, is well underway.

Eight Digital Technologies specialists have now been appointed to cover clusters across each state and territory around the country. As schools develop project proposals to drive implementation of Digital Technologies in their schools, the specialists will support professional learning.

Trial introductory workshops for the Digital Technologies in Focus project have been held in Tasmania (Hobart and Burnie) and Queensland (Charleville, Toowoomba and Townsville). Workshops will also be held in SA and WA this month; and in Victoria, NSW and Northern Territory in September and October.


Thai delegation visits ACARA

A delegation from the Thailand Ministry of Education visited ACARA in order to learn the about the Australian education system, particularly the formation of education policy, curriculum development and innovation in Australian education.

The delegation was hosted by Dr Stanley Rabinowitz, ACARA General Manager, Assessment and Reporting, and Dr Fiona Mueller, ACARA Director, Curriculum.


ACARA Corporate Plan 2017–18 published

ACARA’s Corporate Plan 2017–18 (PDF 2.2 mb) sets out the agency’s purposes and performance measures for the 2017–18 year as well as its responsibilities and priorities for the next four years. It contains an overview by the ACARA Chair, Steven Schwartz, and details ACARA’s operating principles, working environment, capabilities, risk oversight and accountability.

ACARA is required to publish a rolling 4-year corporate plan by 31 August each year, in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.


NAPLAN Online: technical requirements

Students, teachers and parents can become familiar with NAPLAN Online by completing mini-tests available on our public demonstration site, located within the NAP website. Visit the NAP website to find out the minimum technical requirements for completing NAPLAN Online.