The ACARA Page

Honestly, it wasn’t our intention to write three hundred posts on ACARA and their appalling draft mathematics curriculum. But, we did. Given that we did, it seems worthwhile having a pinned metapost, so that anybody who wants to can find their way through the jungle. (There’s probably a better way to do this, with a separate blog page or whatever, but we can’t be bothered figuring that out right now.)

So, here we are: the complete works, roughly in reverse chronological order, and laid out as clearly as we can think to do it. It includes older posts and articles, on the current mathematics curriculum (which also sucks) and NAPLAN (which also also sucks).

The New Curriculum

The Australian Curriculum is Up (May 09, 2022 – The new curriculum)

The New Australian Mathematics Curriculum (November 29, 2022 – dedicated home for whacks at the AC)


New Cur 27: The Proof is in the Plodding (May 05, 2023 – The anti-preponderance of proof)

New Cur 26: Algorithmic Sinking (March 04, 2023 – The preponderance of algorithms)

New Cur 25: Some Cultures Are More Equal Than Others (February 28, 2023 – The weighting of cultural/historical elaborations)

David de Carvalho, Annotated, Again (February 26, 2023 – Another speech)

New Cur 24: ATSI Elaborations and the Games People Play (February 20, 2023 – Indigenous games)

New Cur 23: False Equivalence (February 5, 2023 – the abuse of “equivalence”)

New Cur 22: Stupor Model (January 5, 2023 – the frequency of certain words)

New Cur 21: Depression of the Mean (January 4, 2023 – the thinness of Statistics)

New Cur 20: No Roads Lead to Rome (January 1, 2023 – the non-existence of Roman numerals)

New Cur 19: Turning Japanese (December 30, 2022 – Japanese numerals)

New Cur 18: To be two, or not to be 2 (December 29, 2022 – numerals and names)

New Cur 17: Natural Selection (December 28, 2022 – the (non)-definition of “natural number”)

New Cur 16: The Decimation of ACARA’s Elaborations (December 16, 2022 – “decluttering” the curriculum)

New Cur 15: The Vastness of Space (December 15, 2022 – ACARA’s idiotic name for geometry)

New Cur 14: Moving the Decimal Point, and Other Sins (December 14, 2022 – language policing)

New Cur 13: A Probable Grand Slam (December 13, 2022 – Year 5 Probability)

New Cur 12: A Futile Quad Wrangle (December 10, 2022 – quadrilaterals in F-6)

New Cur 11: Circling the Good (December 9, 2022 – almost Archimedes)

New Cur 10: Positively Disposing of Mastery (December 8, 2022 – words)

New Cur 9: Less Than Optimal (December 7, 2022 – optimisation)

New Cur 8: Repeated Probability (December 6, 2022 – probability)

New Cur 7: Logjam (December 5, 2022 – logarithms)

New Cur 6: Necessity is the Mother of Convention (December 4, 2022 – zero exponent)

New Cur 5: Non-Reoccurring Decimals (December 3, 2022 – removal of the x trick)

New Cur 4: Golden Moments (December 2, 2022 – golden ratio nonsense)

The Awfullest Australian Curriculum Probability Lines (November 28, 2022 – a selection of the worst Probability lines)

The Awfullest Australian Curriculum Statistics Lines (November 18, 2022 – a random selection of (every) worst Statistics lines)

The Awfullest Australian Curriculum Space Lines (November 2, 2022 – a selection of the worst (ugh!) Space)

The Awfullest Australian Curriculum Measurement Lines (October 19, 2022 – a selection of the worst Measurement)

The Awfullest Australian Curriculum Number Lines (October 6, 2022 – a selection of the worst Algebra)

New Cur 3: ACARA’s Not an Option (September 25, 2022 – ACARA’s hiding of optional Year 10 material)

New Cur 2: Not the Volume of a Cone (September 22, 2022 – ACARA’s non-treatment of cones)

The Awfullest Australian Curriculum Number Lines (September 21, 2022 – a selection of the worst Number)

Australian Curriculum Awfulnesses (September 08, 2022 – a growing list of awful 1-liners)

New Cur 1 + PoSWW 29: Cut Down in One’s Prime (September 2, 2022 – prime number idiocy)

De Carvalho Hawks the New Curriculum (June 24, 2022 – Radio National interview)

AustMS Reminds Us That ACARA Stuffed Up (June 07, 2022 – remarks from AustMS President, Ole Warnaar)


Acceptance of the Draft Curriculum

A Bita Crap (April 03, 2022 – A ridiculous report on the approval)

ACARA, Annotated (April 02, 2022 – ACARA’s media release)

And Thus it Ends (April Fools’ Day, 2022 – formal statements from the Minister and ACARA)



Greg Ashman says no to ACARA (11/03/22 – and our post on this.)

Minister Robert’s Letter to ACARA (19/02/22)

ACARA, and the Compliant foolishness of Education Reporters (08/02/22 – response to an SMH article on the curriculum redraft.)

The Origins of “Why Maths Must Change” (21/01/22 – background to the Joint Statement)

Alan Tudge Calls For a Rewrite of the Draft Curriculum (19/08/21)

Maths Experts do Not Reaffirm Support for Curriculum Changes (30/0721 – response to an SMH article.)

AAS Fellows Were Apparently Not Consulted in the Signing of the Joint Statement (16/07/21)

AAS Did Not Endorse the Draft Mathematics Curriculum (14/07/21 – on an AAS statement)

ACARA Tells the Australian Mathematical Society to Get Stuffed (13/07/21 – on an open letter from AustMS to ACARA)

AustMS’s open letter is here.

AMSI Calls for a Halt of the Mathematics Curriculum Review (08/07/21)

AMSI’s submission is here.

Tony Guttman’s Statement on the Draft Mathematics Curriculum (08/07/21)

Final Day: Our Submission to ACARA (08/07/21)

Open Letter to ACARA and the ACARA Board (02/06/21)


What if You Hate this Blog (24/06/21 – blog ≠ open-letter)


The Draft Curriculum

This is mainly the current, ACARA Crash series, on specific aspects of the draft curriculum.


The ACARA Mathematics Draft is Out (29/04/21 – summary page of draft documents)


WitCH 28: Seeing Through De Carvalho’s Prism (01/04/22 – more nonsense form Mr. Wisdom)

The Sly Way (31/03/22 – getting ready to lose)

ACARA is More Dangerous than Boaler (23/03/22 – a slap at ACARA’s secrecy)

David de Carvalho Wrecks the Joint (15/03/22 – comment on an excerpt of a De Carvalho Keynote)

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Curriculum (28/02/22 – the new and ad hoc process for approval)

Maths Pathway advised on the Draft Mathematics Curriculum (27/02/22)

Education Reporters, and Their Struggle with “Maths Experts” (14/02/22 – response to a Guardian article on the curriculum redraft)

ACARA Hates Algorithms (10/10/21 – the traditional algorithms)

Which is the Best ATSI Elaboration? (14/10/21 – The ATSI priority)

ACARA’s Response to AMSI’s Submission (27/09/21 – a response to a response)

ACARA’s Terms of Reference (18/09/21 – critique of the ToR)

AMT and ACARA (05/09/21 – the manner of AMT’s submission)

A Quick Word to Networking Mathematicians (28/08/21 – slapping nitwits)

ACARA Crash 18: Errors in the Draft Mathematics Curriculum (09/08/21)

ACARA Crash 17: Algebraic Fractures (29/07/21 – elimination of algebraic fractions)

ACARA Crash 16: Unlevel Playing Field (29/07/21 – level descriptions)

And the Winner is … (28/07/21 – competition winners)

ACARA CRASH 15: Digital Insertion (27/07/21 – calculators in Years 1 – 6)

Does There Exist a Sensible Australian Maths Ed Academic? (25/07/21)

Robbing Peter to Play Appallingly (25/07/21 – new stuff cannot be free)

What Are the Arguments FOR the Draft Mathematics Curriculum (01/07/21 – competition)

Does the Draft Mathematics Curriculum Contain Any Problem-Solving? (01/07/21 – competition)

One Week to Email Submissions on the Draft Curriculum (01/07/21 – how to email submisisions to ACARA)

ACARA Crash 14: Backward Thinking (28/06/21 – Foundation and Year 1 Number)

ACARA Crash 13: The Establishment Blues (28/06/21 – Year 6 and Year 7 Measurement)

Education Fires Back Again (10/06/21 – article from education academics)

Maths Ed Fires Back (09/06/21 – article in response to the open letter)

ACARA Crash 12: Let X = X (02/06/21 – algebra in Year 7 Algebra)

ACARA Crash 11: Pulped Fractions (01/06/21 – fraction arithmetic in Year 7)

ACARA Crash 10: Dividing is Conquered (29/05/21 – division in Year 5 and Year 6)

ACARA Crash 9: Their Sorrows Will Multiply (28/05/21 – multiplication in Year 5 and Year 6)

You Got a Problem With That? (27/05/21 – problem-solving)

ACARA Crash 8 – Multiple Contusions (25/05/21 – multiplication tables in Year 4 Algebra)

ACARA Crash 7 – Spread Sheeet (24/05/21 – primes in Year 6 Number)

ACARA Crash 6 – Crossed Words (23/05/21 – word-hunting)

ACARA Crash 5 – Completing the Squander (22/05/21 – quadratics in Year 10 Optional)

ACARA Crash 4 – The Null Fact Law (21/05/21 – quadratics in Year 9 Algebra)

ACARA Crash 3 – Fool’s Gold (16/05/21 – golden ratio in Year 8 Number)

ACARA Crash 2 – Shell Game (15/05/21 – Fibonacci numbers in Year 6 Algebra)

ACARA Crash 1 – The Very Beginning (12/05/21 – counting in Foundation Number)

ACARA Crash 0 – It Was a Dark and Stormy Curriculum (18/05/21 – introductory material in the draft)

WitCH 61: Wheel of Misfortune (05/05/21 – Core Concepts and Organisers)

How Do You Solve a Problem Like ACARA (03/05/21 – problem-solving)


Warm Up for the Draft Curriculum

Posts on public commentary, just prior to or with the draft’s release.


De Carvalho, AMSI and that Other Singapore (30/04/21 – comments by ACARA’s CEO and AMSI’s Director)

Being Carvalho With the Truth (30/04/21 – speech by ACARA’s CEO)

WitCH 60: Pythagorean Construction (28/04/21 – Pythagoras from ACARA CEO’s speech)

Leading By Example (15/04/21 – comments by AMSI’s Director and others)

Why Mathematics Education Must Change (12/04/21 – statement by AMSI, AAS and others)

ACARA is Confronted With the Big Ideas (17/03/21 – leaked review documents)


Curriculum Review

Posts on ACARA’s review documents, leading up to the draft.


Australia v Singapore (28/04/21 – ACARA’s curriculum comparison)

The Key to ACARA’s Universe (27/04/21 – ACARA’s Key Findings from curricula comparisons)

Massing Evidence (20/04/21 – more on the Literature Review)

ACARA’s Illiterature Review (11/04/21 – ACARA’s Literature Review)


The Current Australian Curriculum

Obtuse Triangles (25/06/2017 – Pythagoras in Year 9)

A Zillion and One Things to Talk About (18/06/2012 – statistics)

Irrational Thoughts (03/05/2010 – irrational numbers)

The Times Tables They Are A Changin’ (22/04/2010 – multiplication tables in draft curriculum)

New Draft Curriculum a Feeble Tool, Calculated to Bore (04/30/2010 – draft curriculum)

Summing Up a Failure (23/02/2009 – prelude to draft curriculum)



The NAPLAN Numeracy Test Test (19/03/19 – numeracy)

NAPLAN’s Latest Last Legs (13/03/2019 – public criticism of NAPLAN)

We was Robbed (07/10/2018 – former ACARA CEO)

NAPLAN’s Numeracy Test (24/05/2018 – FOI application)

NAPLAN’s Numerological Numeracy (15/08/2017 – NAPLAN data)

NAPLAN’s Mathematical Nonsense, and What it Means for Rural Peru (13/07/21 – NAPLAN question)

Accentuate the Negative (27/05/2017 – NAPLAN problem)

NAPLAN in Kafkaland (12/05/2014 – FOI request)

NAPLAN, numeracy and nonsense (13/05/2013 – NAPLAN problems)

The best laid NAPLAN (09/05/2011 – numeracy)

12 Replies to “The ACARA Page”

  1. When I was in the post office the other day, waiting in the queue, I stood next to a large stand with books about how to succeed in the Naplan tests. It was a large stand, and well filled. Its very existence indicates the failure of Naplan as a concept, and in practice. Rather than as a measure of achievement, and as a formative evaluation of how well or ill students may be performing, it has become a summative assessment task in which students are drilled so that their performance is maximized. In other words, it’s rubbish.

  2. Looking at this list, it strikes me the scale of your work on this topic. I wonder if it is worth putting together as some kind of compilation. Probably way too much work and for what end?

    Still, I want to say that I greatly appreciate the efforts.

    1. Hear, hear.

      It would actually be a good starting point for whoever is responsible for re-writing all these bullshit curriculums. And it should be required reading for members of various review panels.

      Unfortunately, it’s almost certain that all those concerned will be too wrapped up in their own self-importance to entertain anything beyond their own narrow- and simple-minded thinking as relevant.

    1. Yes, thanks, SRK. wst also pointed out that excellent report, on Crash 6. I plan to post on it today or tomorrow.

  3. I am grateful to Marty for this blog. It allows me to interact with others interested in mathematics education, in a very special way. Thank you Marty.

    1. Thanks, Terry. As it happens, I’m pondering writing a post about some mathematicians who are significantly less complimentary of the blog.

  4. Fashions change. Just consider the case of men’s neck ties. We went from wide, to narrow, and now none at all. So too it happens in the world of ideas.

    When I was an undergraduate mathematics student, pure mathematics was popular, applied mathematics was less popular, mathematical statistics was even less popular.

    We are witnessing another change in fashion.

    Now mathematics is justified by its utility. Everyone agrees that “mathematics is everywhere” – I have seen this mantra on posters around schools. And STEM reinforces this view.

    Education is shaped by evolving fashions. ‘Twas ever thus.

    1. Terry, “fashions” is a pretty ridiculous analogy for educational trends. But, in any case, what is your point? So, given we have the “fashion” we have now, we’re just supposed to throw up our hands and say “I don’t like this fashion”, or “Each to their own”?

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