ACARA Update, August 2017

2017 NAPLAN summary information released

Today ACARA has released the preliminary summary results of the 2017 National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests.

“The NAPLAN data show that over the last 10 years, since NAPLAN was introduced in 2008, there has been some improvement across all year levels in most domains,” ACARA CEO, Robert Randall, said.

“Importantly, we see a gradual redistribution of students from lower bands of achievement to higher ones, particularly in some domains and year levels, such as Year 3 reading. In other areas, this improvement has not always been great enough to significantly impact national averages, but it is a positive trend.”

Highlights of this year’s NAPLAN results include:

  • There is evidence of movement of students from lower to higher bands of achievement across year levels and most domains over the last 10 years. See our short video that demonstrates this.
  • Year 3 reading results continue to show sustained improvement.
  • ACT, Victoria and NSW continue to have high mean achievement across all domains.
  • There are increases in mean achievement in the Northern Territory in primary years reading and numeracy since 2008.
  • WA and Queensland have the largest growth in mean achievement across most domains since 2008.

Percentage of students meeting the national minimum standard remains high – over 90 per cent nationally and in most states and territories, across all domains and year levels.

The data also show that, compared with 2016, there is no significant improvement in national averages.

“Given the importance of literacy and numeracy during and beyond school, we would all like to see sustained growth in results across every domain and year level at the national level and in each state and territory,” Mr Randall said. “However, lasting improvements in student achievement take a number of years to flow through school systems and require consolidating gains over time”.

“The ten-year data indicate that change is happening, including significant change in some domains, year levels and in some jurisdictions, and this is to be welcomed. If this improvement can be replicated across more domains, years and states, then a lift in national averages will be seen.”

Each year, as the My School website is updated, we can see improvements being made in many schools across the country,” Mr Randall continued. “The ongoing challenge for all involved in education is to learn from this success and turn this into improved literacy and numeracy outcomes for more students in more schools."

Mr Randall said that when NAPLAN moves online from 2018, it will result in better assessment, more precise results and a faster turnaround of information.

“We anticipate that the tailored testing and online presentation will better engage students and provide an opportunity for them to better demonstrate their individual skills in literacy and numeracy.”

To view the NAPLAN 2017 summary information, visit the NAP website

Making Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures a curriculum priority

Programming humanoid robots and learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures are rarely combined into one lesson in the classroom.

But at Maitland Lutheran School in South Australia, students have been learning the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies by teaching a humanoid robot how to speak the sleeping language of their local Aboriginal community. “We have a fairly high Indigenous student population in our school, about 20 per cent,” Maitland Lutheran School teacher, Scott Carson, said.

“We decided to do something quite out of the box, in combining Narungga language and culture with a robotics program from the Digital Technologies curriculum.”

The school is one of seven featured in a series of short videos, or illustrations of practice, that have been released today by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

Funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, these videos show how the Australian Curriculum’s cross-curriculum priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures may be implemented in a variety of school settings.

“The Australian Curriculum is a national curriculum for every child, no matter where they are in the country,” ACARA CEO, Robert Randall, said. “There are three main components that make up the Australian Curriculum: learning areas (subjects), general capabilities (such as Critical and Creative Thinking, and ICT Capability) and cross-curriculum priorities. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures is one of three cross-curriculum priorities.”

The videos released today feature creative programs incorporating learning areas such as History, Languages and Science, in metropolitan and rural schools with high, medium and low percentages of Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander students.

“These illustrations of practice are a valuable resource for all teachers from any school – whether urban or remote – and for all students,” Mr Randall said.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students should be able to see themselves, their identities and their cultures reflected in the Australian Curriculum, just like their non-Aboriginal and non-Torres Strait Islander peers, to fully participate in the curriculum and build their self-esteem.”

Among other illustrations of practice videos are Year 8 students from Queensland exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ skills in fire-making; and Years 3 and 4 students exploring the impact of colonisation on Tasmanian Aboriginal peoples.

To view all the illustrations of practice, or to learn more about cross-curriculum priorities, visit the Australian Curriculum website.

New-look Australian Curriculum website launched

ACARA has released a revamped Australian Curriculum website.

“The Australian Curriculum website is a popular resource, but it has been around for a few years in its current form. We've listened to user feedback and hope users will like the fresh look and a new ‘filter’ option on the home page, which makes content easier to find,” said ACARA CEO, Robert Randall.

ACARA is responsible for the curriculum for all schools across the nation. The Australian Curriculum ensures that every child, wherever they live or whichever school they attend, has access to the same world-class curriculum. 

The new website features: an updated look and feel, content that is easier to find through a new ‘filter’ option on the homepage, and greater prominence of parent information and student diversity information on the home page. There is no change to the actual curriculum, just how it is presented.

The website retains its address of and all links to curriculum and resources are maintained through automatic redirects. If you are using a mobile device, you may need to clear the cache to access the updated site.

Visit the 'Resources' page of the AC website to view a video that demonstrates how to navigate the new-look website.

Schools test readiness for NAPLAN Online

In August and September, schools around the country will have an opportunity to assess their readiness to move to NAPLAN Online in 2018. The school readiness test aims to ensure each school is prepared to undertake NAPLAN Online and has sufficient bandwidth and wireless connectivity. The test will give state and territory education authorities valuable feedback about the extent of school readiness to undertake NAPLAN Online from 2018.

Teachers will practise managing the classroom logistics for an online assessment as well as the processes for administering the test.
Schools across Australia will start to go online from 2018 on an opt-in basis. State and territory education authorities are responsible for determining when their state/territory moves to NAPLAN Online. These education authorities are preparing schools for the move from the current paper-based NAPLAN tests to online-based assessments, supporting schools with a variety of readiness tools, activities and training, including this readiness test exercise for selected schools.

“States and territories have previously undertaken trialling in preparation for the move to NAPLAN Online,” ACARA CEO Robert Randall said. “During August 2016, students from more than 1,000 selected schools across the country took part in a trial of the assessment platform for NAPLAN Online. Feedback received from the 2016 trial was generally positive and will be used together with this year’s readiness testing to ensure schools have a smooth transition.”

NAPLAN Online will allow for a wider range of question types and a broader range of skills to be assessed. It will also feature tailored testing, where the test automatically responds to student performance, providing more, or less, demanding questions based on how a student has gone in previous sections. This means that NAPLAN Online will provide more precise results and a more engaging test experience for students.

When NAPLAN moves online, test results will also be available within weeks instead of several months under current arrangements. This will assist teachers to identify learning priorities and meet individual student needs earlier than with the current NAPLAN paper tests.

As technology develops, ACARA aims to further refine the delivery of the tests to best use the available technology as well as to provide increasingly sophisticated assessments and valuable feedback to teachers, parents and education authorities.  

Significant planning, development, research and trialling have been ongoing since 2012 to support the move to NAPLAN Online. ACARA has established a demonstration site to help students and teachers familiarise themselves with NAPLAN Online, as well as the types of items to be included in the online tests. The public demonstration site is available at the NAP website

ACARA and Education Services Australia are working with the Australian Government and all states and territories on the move to NAPLAN Online. States and territories are responsible for preparing schools for NAPLAN Online and selecting schools for readiness testing. 

National Report on Schooling data portal: release of new data 

ACARA’s interactive resource, the National Report on Schooling data portal, has been updated with available 2016 data. This includes key performance measure data and data on schools and schooling such as: 

  • school numbers, student numbers and staff numbers
  • student–teacher ratios
  • school funding
  • enrolment rates
  • student attendance. 

Charts and tables on the data portal enable users to filter data by state, school sector, school level, type, Indigeneity and other measures. 

The information accessed through the portal is updated twice a year to provide users with the latest information possible.