ACARA Update banner

February 2018


New literacy and numeracy initiative to support teachers

ACARA has released the National Literacy and Numeracy Learning Progressions – an important new tool to assist teachers in implementing the Australian Curriculum: English and the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics.

ACARA CEO, Robert Randall, said the learning progressions would support teachers in locating where individual students are in terms of their literacy and numeracy development, and would help them understand the typical sequence of learning for literacy and numeracy.

“Students acquire literacy and numeracy skills at different rates,” Mr Randall said. “For example, a student may enter their Foundation year knowing how to write his or her own name, while another student may be making pencil marks on a page.

“Perhaps there is another student in that same class already creating short pieces of writing. It is up to these students’ school and teachers to teach the Australian Curriculum: English and Mathematics to each of them, including the range of students in between.”

The progressions will also help teachers to see the next stage of literacy development for each student, no matter what stage of development they are at.

“The learning progressions are not tied to year levels, as they recognise that students typically follow the same sequence or path of learning, albeit at different rates,” Mr Randall said. 

“The progressions will also allow teachers to identify students who have not yet reached the age-equivalent curriculum expectations of the Australian Curriculum: English and Mathematics, as well as students who have exceeded them, so they can adjust their teaching to ensure all students make progress.”

One of the benefits of the learning progressions is that they allow teachers to identify growth in student literacy and numeracy.

“The student making pencil marks and the student writing his or her own name at the beginning of the year may both be able to produce short pieces of writing by the middle of the year,” Mr Randall explained. “The teacher can see that both these students have shown growth, but at different rates, along the same path of learning.”  

ACARA and the NSW Department of Education developed the National Literacy and Numeracy Learning Progressions for use by teachers in the classroom as part of the National STEM School Education Strategy. The progressions were created in consultation with literacy and numeracy experts, using evidence-based research into literacy and numeracy development.

From March to May 2017, a group of volunteer teachers from schools across the country trialled the learning progressions on a test website. Eighty schools trialled the literacy progressions, while a further 80 schools trialled the numeracy progressions, totalling around 600 teachers from each state and territory and all school sectors. Based on trial feedback, the learning progressions were modified and released for consultation in July and August, and a final version was presented to the Education Council for endorsement in December 2017.

The National Literacy and Numeracy Learning Progressions are available in the Resources section of the Australian Curriculum website.


UNESCO Manila forum

Dr Stanley Rabinowitz, ACARA’s General Manager, Assessment and Reporting, recently presented to researchers, civil society representatives and national policy-makers from 15 countries on the purposes and progress of My School at the International Policy Forum in Manila, organised by the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP–UNESCO) and the Department of Education in the Philippines. 

The forum included a series of discussions on how to better use school-level data and to share information on current initiatives in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The forum was based on the outcomes of an IIEP research project on open school data conducted in Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines.

Visit the ETICO website to read more about the forum.


ACARA is hiring

ACARA's Sydney office has a few vacancies that might be of interest to our newsletter subscribers. These include:

  • Director, Curriculum
  • ACARA Board secretary
  • Curriculum Specialist (multiple)
  • Finance Officer and Finance Accountant
  • Procurement Officer.

Visit 'Careers at ACARA'.


Preparation continues for the transition to NAPLAN Online 

The gradual roll-out of NAPLAN Online commences this year with some schools moving online this May, and all schools to be online by 2020. Transitioning schools have completed readiness activities to ensure they are prepared.

A recent statement by the Education Council noted that education ministers "welcome the many benefits that online testing can deliver to students, their parents and teachers through improved diagnostics and the faster turnaround of NAPLAN results".

The Education Council also determined that automated essay scoring will not be used for the marking of NAPLAN writing scripts (read the Education Council media statement, PDF 334 kb).

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