Australian Curriculum

ACARA – What is it?

As a parent I am sure you have asked yourself, what is it that they learn in schools now? Makes sense! As the classrooms look the same as thirty years ago, but the teachers do not seem to be teaching the same. 

Although education looks slightly different in each state there is still one curriculum benchmark that sets Australia’s overall curriculum standards. This is ACARA (The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority). ACARA refers to themselves as the, “source of advice on, and delivery of national curriculum, assessment and reporting”. Which is set and agreed upon by each state’s Education Ministers and a team of educational professionals. If you haven’t visited their website, I highly recommend you do 

The curriculum breakdown! 

ACARA may be daunting to read through for someone without a background in education or teaching. However do not worry if this is you, as this is where Positive Teaching will help break it down for you so that we can all have an understanding of the core concepts for what your, our or all children are learning.

Figure 1.

ACARA’s curriculum was developed on their 3 Dimensional Curriculum Design  (Figure 1) that builds on a continuum to meet the growth of learning; as in starting with the alphabet in Foundation; and perhaps finishing with a critical essay on Othello by Year 12. 

But what does this mean to parents and carers?

When visiting the ACARA website, PositiveTeaching advises you to view each of the Year Level Descriptions, Content Descriptors and Achievement Standards for each of the eight learning strands. In Appendix 1 you can view a small example for the Year 3 Achievement Standards (English strand). The Achievement Standards are written as a quick snapshot of what a child must be able to do by the end of Year 3. I have made some highlights how a teacher or educational professional may connect this with the Yr 3 Content Descriptions. As these criterias are perhaps a starting point that you may review at home; for understanding teaching from home or simply working with, and extending your child’s learning.  

How this looks in a learning classroom can vastly vary due to independent schools having the flexibility to choose their delivery of the curriculum. As in, you may find your school chooses the International Baccalaureate curriculum (IB and PYP), however the assessment standards will inevitably be matched with the ACARA standards. This explains why different school’s daily structures and learning languages may vary. 

Confused yet?

Don’t worry, so are the student teachers! But they’re lucky enough to be coached through by an experienced teacher. So please, rest assured knowing that in the classroom your teachers are well equipped and working hard for your child’s learning success. Oh! And the teachers have already asked the Government for a ‘reader friendly’ review of ACARA. It was announced on June 11 2020, that the ACARA team will be looking into this and plan to have a more ‘reader friendly’ version released by 2022. 

Appendix 1


Figure 1-

Appendix 1 –

© Positive Teaching

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