David de Carvalho, Annotated, Again

Two years ago, we annotated parts of a speech that ACARA CEO, David de Carvalho, gave at The Age Schools Summit. De Carvalho’s stage-setting for ACARA’s soon-to-be-released draft curriculum was nonsense throughout, and included a cunning reference to the “Joint Maths Statement” from “five of the leading maths and science organisations” supposedly supporting the then secret draft curriculum; it only emerged a year later that ACARA had prior knowledge of, and appears to have been intimately involved in the production of, this purportedly independent statement. Classy work from a classy guy. Continue reading “David de Carvalho, Annotated, Again”

ACARA Didn’t Expect the Sydney Inquisition

Catholics Schools NSW has begun some serious interrogation of ACARA. Led by CEO Dallas McInerney, their chief weapon is sense, and truth. Their two weapons are sense and truth, and intelligence. Their three weapons are sense and truth and intelligence, and a pastoral ethic. Amongst their weapons are … Continue reading “ACARA Didn’t Expect the Sydney Inquisition”

Education Experts Notice the Disintegrating Dyke, and Advocate More Fingers

Yesterday, the Grattan Institute released a report:

Tackling under-achievement: Why Australia should embed high-quality small-group tuition in schools

Great idea. While you’re at it, maybe give each kid their own pony. Continue reading “Education Experts Notice the Disintegrating Dyke, and Advocate More Fingers”

The Summary Execution of Initial Teachers

This one is way, way old. But still, we felt something we should write something.

Early last year, Alan Tudge – remember him? – launched a review into Initial Teacher Education.We also wrote about the review, here. The final report was released early year, as we announced here. We had no time then to carefully read the Report, although some commenters had things to say. We’ve since read the report pretty thoroughly. It was thrilling, a real page-turner. Continue reading “The Summary Execution of Initial Teachers”

ACARA Crash 18: Errors in the Draft Mathematics Curriculum

The following is a list of errors – and possible/arguable errors – in the draft mathematics curriculum. Commenters are invited and encouraged to suggest additions, and deletions.

By “error” we mean a statement or instruction that is factually wrong or that makes no logical/mathematical/everyday sense. Some of the listed “errors” are clear-cut, while others are less so. Of course the fact that a statement/instruction made no sense to us does not prove that it makes no sense; we’ve attempted to be fair, being tough on the improper use of technical terms while giving weird phrasings a good-faith pondering in context. Nonetheless, there may well be reasonable interpretations that we have missed. (Of course phrasing that is difficult to interpret has no place in a curriculum document, but that is a separate category of sin.) As well, it is not always clear whether to characterise a statement as an error or simply a really dumb idea, but we’ve tried to stick pretty closely to “error”, leaving the noting of really dumb ideas to our other ninety-eight posts.

The list follows. The majority are elaborations. There are a few content descriptors, for which associated elaborations are indicated by a further indentation. Again, commenters are encouraged both to suggest additions to the list, and to argue for deletions from the list.

Continue reading “ACARA Crash 18: Errors in the Draft Mathematics Curriculum”

ACARA CRASH 17: Algebraic Fractures

The following are Year 10 Number-Algebra content-elaborations in the current curriculum:


Apply the four operations to simple algebraic fractions with numerical denominators


expressing the sum and difference of algebraic fractions with a common denominator

using the index laws to simplify products and quotients of algebraic fractions


Solve linear equations involving simple algebraic fractions


solving a wide range of linear equations, including those involving one or two simple algebraic fractions, and checking solutions by substitution

representing word problems, including those involving fractions, as equations and solving them to answer the question

And what does the draft curriculum do with these?


And, why?

Not essential for all students to learn in Year 10.

God only knows how one develops fluency with expressions that cease to exist.

ACARA CRASH 16: Unlevel Playing Field

Each Year’s content in the draft curriculum begins with a Level description, and each of the thirteen Level description begins with the exact same sentences:

The Australian Curriculum: Mathematics focuses on the development of a deep knowledge and conceptual understanding of mathematical structures and fluency with procedures. Students learn through the approaches for working mathematically, including modelling, investigation, experimentation and problem solving, all underpinned by the different forms of mathematical reasoning. [emphasis added]

Yep, “an equal focus on building fluency“, no doubt about it.


And the Winner Is …

Definitely not Sydeney.

OK, in a futile attempt to unPonzi our blogging scheme, we’re closing off our four competitions.* The winners are indicated below, and any winner who has not died of old age should  email us to receive their prize, a signed copy of the best-selling** A Dingo Ate My Math Book.***

Continue reading “And the Winner Is …”