Mathematics – Senior Secondary Australian Curriculum

Mathematics – Senior Secondary Australian Curriculum


The first set of Year 11 and 12 curricula for the
Australian Curriculum have now been released. English, Mathematics, Science and History. Four
English courses, four Mathematics courses, four Science courses, and two History courses. After quite substantial consultation we put out a
first draft for the first set and on the basis of comments
back, revised them, and put them back out for another consultation and have now produced
these final versions. These are now about to be taken to the next
stage. These ACARA Senior Secondary curricula will
now fit into quite varied state arrangements. In each of the states there are authorities that run
the assessment systems with external exams or other means that provide
the reports to students on their performance and provide the certification arrangements. These curricula have to fit into that, they can’t
disrupt that, you can’t expect states to run parallel
arrangements. These curricula will provide a common and
agreed basis now for states working out what to do with them. ACARA is going to work bilaterally with each of
the states to determine the ways in which these new
curricula will be integrated into courses in each of the states. We are committed to reporting back to Ministers
at the end of 2013 on the progress towards that integration, as well as on timelines
for adoption of these courses in the states because at the senior secondary level there are
quite strong rules about how much notice has to be given to
students who are coming through Years 9 and 10 about what they will face in Years 11 and 12. This is the first step in an important but long
process. A real strength for me is that the Curriculum gives
us the opportunity to enable students to learn in environments where excellence and
equity are valued. The Curriculum also develops in students the
ability to learn and learning how to learn. These are framed in the content that is provided
and the skills and knowledge particular to the learning area of Mathematics. Teachers and educators now have to make this
vision a reality. I think the biggest strength is looking right across
the country looking at all the different Maths topics and all the
little differences that occur between states and actually making that best
choice about what is the best Mathematics for all
students. One of the strengths, I think, is that we are going
to end up in a situation where what everyone is basically teaching in common
anyway is going to be articulated and presented so that every student and teacher
in every state is going to have parity in terms of what they are
being presented. It doesn’t preclude each state from offering
alternatives of certain areas of the Maths curriculum that they
have tradtionally enjoyed teaching and studying. For me the strength is the fact that you are going
to have six states, two territories, eight jurisidctions having a
common curriculum that they are going to be working off. The benefits for teachers are that the Curriculum
documents are the basis from which teachers can make decisions about learning and
teaching responsive to the needs of students. For teachers, these need to be made
collaboratively and we’ve got a real opportunity to share
resources and ideas on a national level Teachers haven’t worked or had an opportunity to
work this way before and this is a really exciting opportunity. I think the biggest benefit is getting all teachers
across the country having the same language so it’s so much easier to share the really good
ideas. I’ve gone to conferences in the past and had to
debate, ‘Do I go to that Victorian session on computer algebra systems?’, because it
doesn’t quite relate to me. It will be really good to be able to share and just
have better resources, particularly for some of the smaller states like the
Northern Territory being able to pick up resources from the whole country. One of the benefits, I think, is that we are going to
become better learners. The best sort of teacher is the one who is still
learning. If you’ ve been teaching the same sort of thing
you’ve got a really good idea of what it’s about but the real benefit of this is you’re going to have
new things that you’re going to have to learn and I reckon that’s going to renew your passion, I
reckon it’s going to make you understand better how the students are learning, because you’re
going to have learn yourself and I actually think it’s going to be a really nice
recharge and refreshment for many teachers across Australia as we all
encounter the new things that are different from what we are doing now that
will actually really help us become fresher and better teachers for our
students. The senior secondary Mathematics Curriculum is
all about student choice In the suite of subjects, students can choose a
subject that’s going to assist them with employment and working in everyday
situations – so, that functional aspect of mathematics. Other subjects will offer
students the foundation to go onto further studies and specialities in
mathematics and mathematics learning. But irrespective of the opportunities and the
subjects that students take the focus is on ensuring that students see the
power and beauty of Mathematics and learning this in engaging ways, enhanced
with technology, so they’re going to be the winners out of all of
this. I think the benefit for students is if they are
looking at going interstate for university there’s a consistency for them, so that
they’re sitting in a lecture theatre and they’ve done the same maths as everyone
else and they don’t all of a sudden feel panicky, because they might have to do
some extra research at home which would have happened in the past. Of course the other benefit is if everyone’s better
resourced because there’s more sharing across the country, then it must result in better outcomes
for students.

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