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Budget 2007: Greater national consistency in curricula.



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Media Release

Greater national consistency in curricula

8 May 2007 BUDB 18/07

The Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, today announced a new initiative to help develop core curricula standards which will lay the foundation for improving the quality and consistency of curricula in Australian schools.

All State and Territory Ministers for Education recently agreed to develop nationally consistent curricula. The Australian Government?s $13 million Realising Our Potential ? core curricula standards initiative cements this commitment to develop nationally consistent standards in key subject areas.

All Australian students stand to benefit from the improved consistency in standards across the country, particularly the 80,000 students who move interstate each year. Improved standards will be an advantage during a student?s school years, and as they enter employment and further education.

"Better educational outcomes lead to increased productivity and Australia?s competitive advantage needs to be built through higher standards and greater national consistency," Minister Bishop said.

"Standards for curricula will enable a comparison of student achievement across Australia and help assure parents that students will be treated fairly across state borders."

The Australian Government will work with the states and territories to develop core standards for curricula in English, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Australian History for Years 11 and 12, and for English, Maths, Science and Australian History for Year 10.

In addition, as a condition of schools funding, jurisdictions will be required to meet the core national standards from 1 January 2009 but they will be free to develop their own syllabus and materials. States and territories will also be required to include a component of rigorous external assessment (for example, public examinations) as part of Year 12 certificates.

Development of standards will draw on national and international best practice and involve consultation with education authorities, universities and peak employer groups.

Media Contacts

Minister Bishop?s Office: Tory Vidler 0414 228 727

Dept of Education, Science & Training: Virginia Cook 0412 971 323

Non-media queries: 1300 363 079

Supporting Information

Why is this important?

• Currently, it is not possible to compare student achievement across jurisdictions. Year 12 qualifications are not comparable and there is inconsistency in curricula standards across Australia. • This funding will be used to develop, by 2009, core curricula standards in English, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Australian History for Years 11 and 12, and for English, Mathematics, Science and Australian History for Year 10. This is an essential ingredient in a national approach to curricula. • A recent study conducted by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) investigated the curriculum content and achievement standards of five selected Year 12 subjects across Australia, including English, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Australian History. The study found that there is a huge array of disparity across the states and territories in Mathematics (27 different tertiary entrance courses offered across Australia), History (20 different courses offered and only two called ?Australian History?) and English (18 courses offered).

Who will benefit?

• All Australian students will benefit, particularly the 80,000 students who move interstate each year. Improved consistency in standards will also benefit students as they enter employment and further education. • Common core standards will be nationally recognised by employers and training institutions. Parents can be satisfied that students are treated fairly across the country and meet consistent standards.

What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

• The Australian Government is committing $13 million over two years to the development of core curricula standards.

What have we done in the past?

• National curricula have been discussed for over 30 years with limited success. The states and territories have recently come on board to develop nationally consistent curricula. This initiative will assist jurisdictions to meet this agreement.

When will the initiative conclude?

• The development of core curricula standards in key areas will be concluded by 31 December 2008. From 1 January 2009, states and territories will be required under their funding agreements, to ensure their curricula meet the core standards in each selected subject for Years 10, 11 and 12. They will also be required to include rigorous external assessments (for example, public examinations) as part of Year 12 exit certificates.