Resourcing and supporting the Australian Curriculum


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Professor Barry McGaw, keynote at ASLA XXIII Biennial Conference 2013 - The Australian Curriculum is organised under learning areas, which reflect traditional disciplines of knowledge, and general capabilities, which some call 21st century skills. A third dimension provides for three current cross-curriculum priorities that are given special attention in the expectation that, in due course, they will become securely established in curriculum. The curriculum is constructed with content (knowledge, understanding and skills) at its centre. All three dimensions (learning areas, general capabilities and current cross-curriculum priorities) are provided for through the one set of content descriptions, with the online curriculum making clear which elements of each dimension are served by each content description. With respect to all three dimensions, the content is sequenced developmentally through the years of schooling. The content descriptions present students' learning entitlements. Except for a few cases where the content descriptions imply pedagogy (such as in the teaching of initial reading skills which attention to phonics), questions of pedagogy are seen as matters for teachers and schools and, in some cases, school systems.

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Resourcing and supporting the Australian Curriculum

  1. 1. Resourcing and supporting the Australian Curriculum Barry McGaw Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow, University of Melbourne Chair, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority The Curriculum Experience: Connect, Integrate, Lead Australian School Library Association Biennial Conference Hobart September 2013
  2. 2. National view shaped by international context Simultaneous treatment of disciplines and 21st century skills Presenting the curriculum electronically Linking resources to the curriculum for teachers Outline of presentation
  3. 3. National view shaped by international context
  4. 4. Countries ahead of Australia in PISA 2009 Canada Finland Hong Kong - Korea - - - Shanghai Singapore Reading Mathematics Science Canada Finland Hong Kong Japan Korea Liechtenstein Macao Netherlands Shanghai Singapore Switzerland Taiwan - Finland Hong Kong Japan Korea - - - Shanghai Singapore OECD (2010), PISA 2009 results: what students know and can do, Fig. I.2.15, p.54, Fig. I.3.10, p134, Fig I.3.21, p.151.
  5. 5. Comparison of changes in PISA performances Australia - Czech Republic - - Ireland - Sweden Australia Belgium Czech Republic Denmark France Iceland Ireland Netherlands Sweden 5 countries Significant decline Reading 2000-2009 Mathematics 2003-2009 Science 2006-2009 13 countries 8 countries 11 countries Significant improvement No significant change 21 countries 22 countries Australia + 39 countries
  6. 6. Numbers of countries significantly ahead of Australia Level IEA OECD PIRLS TIMSS PISA Reading Maths Science Reading Maths Science Year 4 21 17 18 Year 8 6 9 15-yr-olds 7 12 6 IEA – International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement PIRLS – Progress in International Reading Literacy Survey TIMSS – Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study OECD – Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development PISA – Program for International Student Assessment
  7. 7. Comparison with the best – Yr 8 TIMSS mathematics Adv High Inter. Low37% 34% 20% 9% Australia Korea 7% 16% 30% 47% 37% of Australian students were at or below Low.
  8. 8. Comparison with the best – Yr 8 TIMSS science Adv High Inter. Low30% 35% 25% 11% Australia Finland 12% 35% 40% 13% 30% of Australian students were at or below Low.
  9. 9. Australia among high performing countries High ranking due to high mean BUT well behind the highest performers AND evidence of decline, particularly at the top end We need to raise expectations In our schools In our curricula Conclusion from international comparisons
  10. 10. Simultaneous treatment of disciplines and 21st century skills
  11. 11. Cisco/Intel/Microsoft Assessment and Teaching of 21st century skills project White paper defining 21st century skills • Ways of thinking – Creativity and innovation – Critical thinking, problem solving and decision making – Learning to learn and metacognition • Ways of working – Communication – Collaboration and teamwork • Tools for working – Information literacy – ICT literacy • Living in the world – Citizenship – global and local – Life and career – Personal and social responsibility 21st century skills for the 21st century
  12. 12. Are they uniquely 21st century? Most have been important for centuries The technology-rich environment is new Nomenclature General capabilities not 21st century skills Literacy Numeracy Information and communication technology capability Critical and creative thinking Personal and social capability Ethical understanding Intercultural understanding Key questions Do we have developmental continua for these capabilities? What content would be required for their development? Australian Curriculum view of 21st century skills
  13. 13. ATC21S Australian Curriculum Ways of thinking Creativity and innovation Critical and creative thinking Critical thinking, problem solving & decision making Learning to learn and metacognition Personal capability Ways of working Communication Literacy Collaboration and teamwork Social capability Tools for working Information literacy ICT capability ICT literacy Numeracy Living in the world Citizenship – global and local Intercultural understanding Life and career Ethical understanding Personal and social responsibility Personal and social capability
  14. 14. Central place for content Preserving the disciplines • Disciplines are the result of several millennia of human effort • Research on expertise shows importance of deep, domain-specific knowledge Attending to some current, cross-curriculum priorities • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures • Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia • Sustainability Form of curriculum content Content descriptions setting out learning entitlements Content elaborations for teachers who would like more details Achievement standards with annotated samples of student work Can the same content serve the general capabilities? Australian Curriculum view of knowledge disciplines
  15. 15. Structure of the Australian Curriculum 7 General Capabilities Sustainability Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures 3 Cross-curriculum Priorities Can general capabilities be covered in the cells? Many cells will be empty. Languages CivicsandCitizenship Economics,Business TheArts HealthandPhysicalEducation Technologies Geography History Science Mathematics English 11 Disciplines/Learning areas
  16. 16. Development process
  17. 17. First the big picture Shape paper for the whole curriculum Shape Papers for learning areas Then the detail Draft Curriculum – approved by ACARA Board for consultation Final Curriculum – endorsed by ACARA Board, approved by Ministerial Council Curriculum development process
  18. 18. International benchmarking of the Australian Curriculum Learning areas Systems against which development compared English Canada (Ontario), England, New Zealand, US (California) Mathematics Finland, Hong Kong, Singapore, USA (National Council of Teachers in Mathematics Standards, American Statistical Society Guidelines) Science Canada (Ontario), Finland, Singapore History Canada, England, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Singapore Geography Canada (Ontario), England The Arts Canada (Ontario), England, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, Singapore, USA (National Art Education Statement, Framework for 21st Century Skills) Languages English-speaking systems: England, Scotland, American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages Others: Canada (Ontario), Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore Health & Physical Education Canada (Ottawa), England, Finland, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden (Outdoor Education) Technologies England, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, USA (Standards for Technological Literacy) Civics & Citizenship Canada (Ontario), England, Hong Kong. Economics & Business Canada (Ontario), Scotland.
  19. 19. Current state of development of Australian Curriculum Learning areas F-10 Senior Years Phase 1 English Being implemented Integration underway Mathematics Being implemented Integration underway Science Being implemented Integration underway History Being implemented Integration underway Phase 2 Geography Final version approved by Ministers Integration underway The Arts Final version approved by Ministers Languages Consultations on drafts underway Phase 3 Health & Physical Education Consultation on draft completed Technologies Consultation on draft completed Civics & Citizenship Consultation on draft completed Economics & Business Consultation on draft completed Work Studies (yrs 9-10) Consultation on draft underway
  20. 20. Presenting the curriculum electronically
  21. 21. This button opens curriculum by learning area, general capability, cross-curriculum priority and year.
  22. 22. Icons indicate general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities for which the content descriptions are relevant. Filter by year, strands, general capabilities, cross- curriculum priorities.
  23. 23. Icons for general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities
  24. 24. Use this view to display content and content elaborations. Foundation year selected. General capability & cross- curriculum priority icons.
  25. 25. Display filtered on: Year 4 Strand Science understanding General capability Critical & creative thinking
  26. 26. Organising elements The Critical and creating thinking learning continuum is organised into four interrelated elements, each detailing differing aspects of thinking. The elements are not a taxonomy of thinking. Rather, each makes its own contribution to learning and needs to be explicitly and simultaneously developed. Inquiring – identifying, exploring and organising information and ideas Generating ideas, possibilities and actions Reflecting on thinking and processes Analysing, synthesising and evaluating reasoning and procedures.
  27. 27. Six levels cover the years F to 10. Level 1 – Foundation Level 2 – Years 1-2 Level 3 – Years 3-4 Level 4 – Years 5-6 Level 5 – Years 7-9 Level 6 – Years 9-10 In this display, 3 levels can be seen at a time, either 1-3 or 4-6. Asking why events make people happy or sad. Asking who, when, how and why about a range of situations and events.
  28. 28. Linking resources to the curriculum for teachers
  29. 29. Website of resources linked by meta-tags to the Australian Curriculum
  30. 30. Filtered on: Grade/Year 4 Critical & creative thinking Now select: View elaborations and matching resources
  31. 31. Resources for students and teachers help with personalisation of learning for students. The resources can be filtered by type. 182 resources listed below.
  32. 32. Australia’s move to a national perspective Influenced by needs of students moving between states & territories Shaped by international context Australian Curriculum Includes 21st century skills as general capabilities Is also, very importantly, organised by disciplines/learning areas. Provides developmental continua for both Electronic presentation Allows users to filter the curriculum in various ways. Allows ready connection with a database of electronic resources Powerful confluence of developments that is supporting a major curriculum change in Australia. Review and conclusion
  33. 33. Thank you.