National Curriculum

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What is it?
      The Board’s purpose
 To develop a single, world-class    A National Curriculum for:
   Australian curriculum for all              English
  students from Kindergarten to
  Year 12, starting with English,             History
 mathematics, the sciences and             Mathematics
   history. The development of
  continua of learning in literacy           Sciences
      and numeracy will be a                    then
     foundation for this work.
Who is running it?

           (Council of Australian Governments)
                   Chair: Prime Minister

            (Interim National Curriculum Board)                  Statutory Authority
               Chair: Professor Barry McGaw                       reporting to both
                                                                 Commonwealth and
            to be replaced by …                                    State Ministers
 NEW                                                                (MCEETYA)
  Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority

   VCAA and equivalent State and Territory               VCAA State Reference Group
           Statutory Authorities                              Chair: Terry Hayes
What is the policy basis?

                    a solid foundation in skills and knowledge on
                   which further learning and adult life can be built
                    deep knowledge and skills that will enable
                   advanced learning and an ability to create new
                   ideas and translate them into practical
                    general capabilities that underpin flexible and
                   critical thinking, a capacity to work with others and
                   an ability to move across subject disciplines to
                   develop new expertise

What is the legislative basis?
What is the conceptual framework?

                   • Content at each year level
                   • Structure of achievement
                   standards still under discussion –
                   one option to be set out as a
                   continuum of achievement (similar
                   to current NAPLAN), not necessarily
                   linked to year levels
                   •Expected standards as key stages
                   likely to be specified (paras 15 – 19
                   of Proposal)
What are some key issues?
                   Some questions…
                   •Equity and inclusivity (para 11) – what
                   does a national curriculum actually mean in
                   contemporary diverse Australia?
                   •Comprehensiveness (para 12) – how does
                   the National Curriculum connect with the
                   rest of the curriculum?
                   Some answers…
                   •Focus on content and subject specific
                   processes rather than generic processes
                   e.g. enquiry skills (paras 22 – 29)
                   • Interdisciplinary skills recognised but not
                   defined separately (paras 33 – 42)
What about assessment?

                • Qualifications to remain
                responsibility of each state/territory
                (para 55)
                • VET, VCAL and IB can continue to
                be provided
                • NAPLAN testing to continue
                • End-of-school assessment remains
                responsibility of each state/territory
                (para 51)
                • Current VCE assessment structures
                likely to continue (para 51)
What does it mean for Victoria?

                    •No change until 2011
                    •Potential changes to content
                    of English, Mathematics,
                    Sciences and History
                    •Little change to assessment
                    •Opportunity to revisit and
                    review current Victorian
 So why bother?
                                     1. To make sure what we value is
Curriculum is                           maintained in the National
a particular, historically formed       Curriculum – and the opposite
knowledge that inscribes rules and 2. National curriculum has quickly
standards by which we “reason”          become the new site for
about the world and our “self” as a     reaching a new settlement on
productive member of that world …       questions related both to
Curriculum is a disciplining            curriculum and national identity
technology that directs how the
individual is to act, feel, talk and 3. Curriculum matters, both as an
“see” the world and “self’. As such,    enabler and a constraint
curriculum is a form of social
(Popkewitz,1997 p. 132).
Will it make much difference?

The Board‟s curriculum can       •Curriculum a necessary but
address the three goals for      not sufficient condition for
young Australians directly. In   the pursuit and achievement
pursuing the goal of a more      of equity and excellence
equitable education system,      •As a necessary condition it
curriculum can make some         makes a difference
contribution but success will
depend more on substantial
action by education
authorities funding and
running schools (para 10)
 What are the timelines?

1. Initial proposal published –   6. Writing commences March
   October                           2009
2. Draft Advice papers for four   7. Writing and trialling completed
   subjects published and            2010
   consultation meetings held     8. Implementation from 2011 –
   13 – 17 October                   states and territories likely to
3. Redrafted Advice papers           determine staging
   published early November       9. Geography and LOTE
4. 3 months consultation          10. Other subjects?
5. Advice papers redrafted as
   writers‟ briefs
 How do we participate?

                                             1. Participate in this forum:
                                                Report forwarded to VCAA
                                                State Reference Group to
        STATE REFERENCE GROUP                   inform Minister and to Interim
Terry Hayes         Former teacher              NCB
Peter McPhee        VCAA Chair
Esme Bamblett       Indigenous Communities   2. Respond via website
Debra Punton        CEO                         (
Jack Keating        Higher Education         3. Respond via subject
Keith Gove          VET                         associations
Bruce Armstrong     Balwyn High School
Carolyn Grantskalis Lowther Hall P-12        4. Participate in VCAA
Diane Peck          DEECD                       consultation forums through
                                                next year as drafts are
                                             5. Volunteer your school as a
                                                pilot in 2010
Contact Details

Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority

David Howes
General Manager, Curriculum

ph: (03) 9651 4524
Science – What is YOUR view?
  Key features of the Initial Advice for science

• Suggests elements of National Statements of Learning for
  Science to inform development of curriculum statements

• Considers purpose of school science education

• Identifies attributes of „scientifically knowledgeable‟ people

• Considers science curriculum issues

• Provides a proposed structure for science curriculum
Initial advice: Science curriculum issues
Selection of science content
               Currently: knowledge-heavy alienating
 Future: science competencies big ideas context relevance flexibility
             core knowledge choice time allocation inquiry

General capabilities and science education
         science-specific general capabilities to be included

 intended, taught and assessed dimensions of curriculum in harmony

Structure of the curriculum
   early childhood primary    junior secondary senior secondary
Initial advice: Possible curriculum structure

                          Early childhood
      curiosity exploration investigation purposeful play observation

   trial-and-error       „fair tests‟ and variables      measurement

                         Junior secondary
  science for living + science inquiry + contemporary science/research

     Senior secondary = physics, chemistry, biology
         ? an applications-based multi-disciplinary science course?
                        ? other specialised courses?
               ? adoption of existing state/territory courses?
Issues arising from the 13 October national science forum,
• Big ideas - should be „big ideas‟ for all levels

• Curriculum design
  - alignment across subjects e.g. graphs in maths and science
  - specific, but allowing flexibility
  - content-specific topics should not be limited by traditional ideas of
  curriculum design; integrate attitudes, ethics, human endeavour

• Professional learning - need significant teacher PL
• Compulsory science? - Grade 1? senior secondary?
• Assessment
  - enacted curriculum probably driven by assessment
 - assess concepts and competencies
    Discussion questions for Victorian VCAA/STAV science forum

• What is an appropriate approach as an organiser for a national science
  curriculum? “Big ideas”? The traditional disciplines? National Statements of Learning for
    Science (way of knowing through inquiry/human endeavour/knowledge)? Other?

• What cross-curriculum knowledge and skills should be taught explicitly
  within the science curriculum?

• Senior: How many science subjects, and which ones, should be included
  in the senior years of schooling?
•   Primary: From what year level should science be compulsory in the early
    years? Generalist primary teachers or specialist teachers?

• What should be the links across primary, secondary and tertiary science?

• Other issues – what would YOU like to recommend to the NCB?

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