ACARA news, May 2021

NAPLAN starts on Tuesday 11 May

10 May 2021

The annual NAPLAN assessment begins tomorrow, with over a million students set to take the test across Australia.

The data from this year’s NAPLAN assessment is going to be particularly important as it is the first test to take place in two years – NAPLAN was not conducted in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, 70 per cent of schools will participate in NAPLAN Online, in preparation for a full transition to NAPLAN Online in 2022. 

ACARA CEO, David de Carvalho, welcomed the return of NAPLAN, “As the only national assessment all Australian children undertake, NAPLAN provides rich data that helps inform decisions about improving the learning of all young Australians.

“It helps us determine whether or not young Australians are developing the literacy and numeracy skills that provide the critical foundation for other learning and their productive and rewarding participation in the community.”

Mr de Carvalho said no extra preparation is required for NAPLAN and reassured students that there is no need to feel anxious about the assessment.

“It is up to the adults to reassure the children that NAPLAN should be treated as just another routine event on the school calendar and to emphasise that NAPLAN tests what children learn in the classroom every day. In that way, it is similar to any other test or challenge students may face at school – not only academic tests but sporting events, musical performances and other extra-curricular activities.   

“With NAPLAN cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19, the data from this year’s NAPLAN assessment is going to be particularly important in helping to show the impact COVID has had in terms of learning gain (or loss) in literacy and numeracy,” he said.

“Getting 70 per cent of schools across the country online is no easy task and there has been very thorough preparation by education authorities and schools,” Mr de Carvalho said.

The NAPLAN Online testing platform has also been enhanced to include low- and no- bandwidth solutions, which have been designed to support schools that have limited access to the internet in regional or remote areas.

ACARA is committed to an inclusive testing process that allows all students to participate in the national assessment program. We have implemented a range of adjustments to support students with diverse learning needs and functional abilities.

These adjustments enable an equivalent learner experience for students during testing and include magnification, alternative questions, keyboard accessibility, extra time, rest breaks and tailored testing.


Media contact:
0414 063 872
[email protected] 

Freedom of speech and assembly remain in the draft Australian Curriculum

03 May 2021

ACARA CEO, David de Carvalho

On Monday 3 May, The Daily Telegraph published a story in which it claimed that “the proposed curriculum would replace teaching about the rights to free speech, assembly and religious belief with language encouraging activism and 'direct action'."  

This statement is not true. 

While the proposed changes to the Civics and Citizenship curriculum in the Australian Curriculum Review add a reference to various modes of civic and political engagement, this has not come at the expense of references to important democratic freedoms such as freedom of speech and assembly. Explaining how democratic freedoms, such as freedom of speech or assembly, support active participation in Australia’s democracy is part of the Year 7 proposed curriculum, whereas in the current curriculum this reference is in Year 8. In other words, this important content has been moved, not removed altogether (as suggested by the story) as part of resequencing of the proposed Civics and Citizenship curriculum.  

Had The Daily Telegraph contacted ACARA, this fact would have been pointed out to the journalist.  

As regards recent discussion of the place of Australia’s Christian heritage in the curriculum, it should be noted that the Rationale in the proposed Australian Curriculum in Civics and Citizenship for Years 7–10, which sets out the overarching framework within which the content should be interpreted, states the Australian Curriculum “recognises that Australia is a secular nation with a culturally diverse, multi-faith society and a Christian heritage.” It also notes that “emphasis is placed on the federal system of government, derived from the Westminster system, and the liberal democratic values that underpin it, such as freedom, equality and the rule of law” and that the curriculum “provides students with opportunities to investigate political and legal systems, and explore the nature of citizenship, diversity and identity in contemporary society.”

Content elaborations in the proposed curriculum include “appreciating the cultural and historical foundations of Australia's Christian heritage and their impact on Australian political and legal systems” and “identifying Christian traditions and values that have influenced the development of Australian society, democracy and law, including the positive and negative impacts upon First Nations Australian communities and other groups within Australian society.”

The Shape of the Australian Curriculum paper, which guides the development of the Australian Curriculum, was updated for this Review to explicitly include reference to the traditions and values of Western civilisation and to the curriculum's role in building national community.

It states:

"The Australian Curriculum exemplifies a shared commitment to high expectations of achievement across the country, to respectful and rational discussion of different perspectives, values and beliefs, and to democratic processes as the means of promoting the common good of all.

"The Australian Curriculum must ensure young people have a good understanding of the nature of Australian society within which they will be living and working as adults. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and perspectives are an important part of the development of our nation, as are the traditions and values of what is often referred to as ‘Western society’.”

All feedback on the proposed revisions to the Australian Curriculum is welcome during this public consultation phase. It will feed into amendments to the final revised curriculum for ministers’ consideration and determination.

Feedback is being sought via the new consultation website from 29 April 2021 until 8 July 2021. The updated version of the F–10 Australian Curriculum, once approved by ministers, will be made available on a new Australian Curriculum website at the start of 2022.