Australian Curriculum review update
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 8, 12 November 2021, page no.10
The Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (ACARA) undertook an extensive review of the Australian Curriculum (AC) in 2021, and is currently reviewing the feedback received from educators across the country.
The intention of the review was to:
- refine and reduce the amount of content across all eight learning areas of the Australian Curriculum F-10, with a priority on the primary years, to focus on essential content or core concepts
- improve the quality of content descriptions and achievement standards by removing ambiguity and unnecessary duplication and ensuring consistency and clarity of language and cognitive demand
- rationalise and improve content elaborations, ensuring they are fit for purpose and they suggest to teachers the most authentic ways to treat general capabilities and cross curriculum priorities when teaching the learning area content
- improve the digital presentation of the Australian Curriculum in line with agreed content changes and user experience requirements.
The review incorporated consideration of eight learning areas, as well as cross-curriculum priorities and general capabilities.
The QTU would like to acknowledge the engagement of members during the 10-week feedback period from 29 April to 8 July, as Queensland teachers were major contributors in that process. In addition, appreciation and thanks go to the QTU’s representatives on the learning area reference groups (LARGs) and on the P-6 and 7-10 advisory groups, who provided initial feedback to ACARA for the development of the revised AC and then provided further feedback on the draft that was developed.
We know that adjustments to the draft curriculum have continued to be made in response to the significant feedback provided. Some of the feedback indicated that, while certain aspects of the draft were “a step in the right direction”, the importance of decluttering the curriculum needs to be highlighted and identified. In addition, questions were asked and comments made about a lack of alignment across dimensions of the curriculum, excessive duplication of content descriptors, lack of clarity of the alignment between achievement standards and content descriptors, and some elaborations that were not user friendly.
ACARA will report on the review findings and make recommendations in Term 4, and these will then be considered by the Education Council (the meeting of Australia’s Education Ministers). Until a decision is made by Education Council, we will have no clear understanding of if and when the new draft AC is to be implemented in Queensland. As a result, the review and draft documents have no status. Until a Queensland position has been determined, members are advised not to engage with the materials.
The draft curriculum should be available on the ACARA website by January 2022. As implementation would take time to consider and the right approach for Queensland still needs to be determined, changes will not come into effect in 2022. Next year, we will consider the way forward for Queensland schools.
The QTU contends that ACARA may have a (yet-to-be-released) view about the “when” – a timeline for implementation of a new AC. However, QTU members are more interested in the “how” – how to ensure that any new AC works for teachers and students.
QTU members would know that Queensland has only recently completed the implementation of the current AC in all learning areas, with different subjects rolled out across the state over a 10-year period. Queensland was one of only two states to implement the current AC in its entirety. As such, the introduction of a new Australian Curriculum has significant implications for the teaching workforce in Queensland.
The QTU will adopt a proactive approach to ensure that the interests of its members are protected in this matter. In anticipation of ACARA’s recommendations being delivered soon, and the subsequent consideration of the matter by the Education Council, the QTU is meeting with the the Queensland Minister for Education to discuss this matter. QTU State Council will also consider the ACARA report/recommendations in November.