This one fell off the back of a bus.
Embedded below is a letter from Stuart Robert, the Acting Minister for Education and Youth, to Derek Scott, the new Chair of the ACARA Board. The letter (which we have been assured is a public document) reinforces the resolutions of this month’s Education Ministers meeting, in regard to ACARA’s invisible redraft of their draft Australian curriculum. It seems that the letter was tabled by a representative from Minister Robert’s office during last week’s Senate Estimates.
The following sections of the letter are worth noting:
Without diluting the improvements already achieved in learning standards, I seek the following improvements in Mathematics:
- lifting standards to ensure they match those of high-performing nations (this could include being clear about which operations students need to be able to do without a calculator)
- ensuring a focus on mastery of foundational material in the primary curriculum
- ensuring content descriptors are written clearly
- reducing the number of elaboration examples, ensuring only those that show the most effective, evidence-based way to teach the content are included.
I also ask that you consult a number of experts in determining your revisions, as outlined in Attachment B. While I ask ACARA to reach out to these experts, gauge their interest in being involved in the revision process, and consult with them over the coming months, I may also seek their individual advice on the process and revisions made.
We do not have access to Attachment B of the letter, and we do not know the specific “experts” listed in that Attachment. One would hope that any such experts are more expert than ACARA’s previous “experts”. It is also unclear what “consult with [ACARA]” is intended to mean, nor what it will mean in practice. Finally, it is unclear the nature of the advice Minister Robert is seeking and/or would be willing to accept. In brief, nothing is clear.
Nonetheless, the implication is that ACARA is being actively shoved to talk to and to incorporate the ideas of people who might know what they are talking about. That would be news, and that would be good news.
Adam Carey has an article on Robert’s letter, here.