ACARA news, June 2020

Leading authors help engage kids in reading tests

23 June 2020

ACARA is excited to have been working with some of Australia’s most celebrated authors in developing engaging texts for our NAPLAN reading tests.

A. J. Betts, Meredith Costain, James Foley, Deb Fitzpatrick, Kirli Saunders, George Ivanoff and Alex Miles – some of the biggest names in children’s literature and young adult fiction in this country – recently joined us for a series of online workshops. Their brief: write the most exciting text possible BUT in the least number of words possible! This is easier said than done, but all of the authors rose to the challenge.

The intent of the project was to produce texts that would engage reluctant readers. Our authors needed to carefully craft texts that respected children’s reading abilities, but also allowed students to be inspired by creative and innovative texts.

“Such children can often be overlooked in traditional testing processes,” said Peter Noonan, the manager of NAPLAN reading test development. “For these students to be clearly and authentically assessed on what they can do, they need to be engaged in what they are reading – not switched off. It was amazing to see how all authors involved in these workshops really knew how to capture the attention and interest of children.”

The workshops also allowed the authors to gain a rare glimpse into the test development process. One of the workshops participants, Gunai woman Kirli Saunders, a writer and educator, provided the following feedback on the workshops, “Writing for ACARA was an amazing professional development opportunity. I really enjoyed the process … it was heartening to see the care and sensitivity in the team for students who struggle in the classroom. I’m glad all students will be supported with access to tailored, interesting texts”.

The project was an overall success, and students will see these texts in upcoming online and paper NAPLAN reading tests.

National Assessment Program: ministerial decisions

12 June 2020


On 12 June 2020, education ministers met and agreed the following:

Full transition to NAPLAN Online deferred from 2021 to 2022

  • Given the cancellation of NAPLAN 2020 and the impacts on schooling due to COVID-19, education ministers have decided the timeline for full transition to NAPLAN Online will be deferred from 2021 to 2022. 

National Assessment Program sample assessments in ICT literacy postponed until 2021 

  • Ministers decided that this year’s scheduled National Assessment Program – Information and Communications Technology Literacy (NAP–ICTL) sample assessment would be postponed by 12 months to 2021, to assist school leaders, teachers and support staff focus on the wellbeing of students and continuity of education, as they respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • The NAP sample assessment cycle will continue from 2021, resulting in a one-off four-year gap (as opposed to the normal three-year gap) in the time series for each of the sample assessments. Read more about the NAP sample assessment program on the NAP website.

See the Education Council communique.

Review of the Australian Curriculum

12 June 2020

Today, education ministers have agreed to terms of reference for the review of the Foundation – Year 10 (F–10) Australian Curriculum, with the review to be completed by the start of 2022. 

Visit the 'Review of the Australian Curriculum' page of this website.

Read ACARA's media release (PDF 168 kb).

10 years on: ACARA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group

05 June 2020

This year, ACARA is honouring and celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the establishment of ACARA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group. Over those 10 years, the advisory group has provided invaluable guidance and support to ACARA and the ACARA Board.

The group was convened to provide ACARA’s executive with high-level advice and expertise regarding the needs of all young Australians and, specifically, the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in relation to ACARA’s national curriculum, assessment and reporting programs.

Now, a decade on, and five of the original members of the group continue to be a part of the advisory group. Doctor Kaye Price, Professor Mark Rose, Professor Peter Buckskin, Will Davis and Myra Singh were original members of the group and continue to represent the high-level views of their communities on matters discussed. ACARA thanks them and the other current group members – Isabelle Adams, Geraldine Atkinson, Gail Barrow, Cindy Berwick, Jesse King, Chris Matthews and Theresa Sainty – for their ongoing support.

The advisory group members have been integral to important advances ACARA has made and continues to make, particularly in the areas of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures cross-curriculum priority, our Reconciliation Action Plan and more recently, the Science elaborations.

Our websites – we want your feedback

03 June 2020

ACARA is embarking on an organisation-wide project to redesign our website portfolio, which has a combined audience of over five million visitors a year. The aim of this project is to make sure you can easily access information on ACARA’s work and improve your website experience.

To make sure our new websites are designed around you, we need to gather your insights on the usability and opportunities for improvement of our websites, and would appreciate if you took the time to complete some surveys on our various websites:

Your time and feedback through these surveys is greatly appreciated.