Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (23 May) . . Page.. 1698 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

Children will undertake the assessment only if their parents elect for them to participate. I want to make it very clear, Mr Speaker, that this Government will be introducing reporting on literacy and numeracy outcomes to improve the teaching-learning process. That is, Mr Speaker, we will ensure that reporting on student outcomes enhances the achievement of the social objectives of schooling.

In terms of implementation, Mr Speaker, the preliminary stages of the implementation of our initiative have commenced with the establishment of a new section within the Department of Education and Training. We have established, within the Department of Education and Training, a new student outcomes and report section, with responsibility for the assessment and reporting of student achievements in literacy and numeracy. The specific brief of this new section is to develop arrangements to provide accurate and reliable data on student achievement in literacy and numeracy, for parents, for students, for teachers, for school and system administrators, for government, for this Assembly and for the broader Canberra community.

Preliminary work has also started in our primary and high schools, with teachers working for the past two years on trialling the curriculum profiles for Australian schools. These profile documents provide teachers with a reference of sequential learning outcomes in each area of the curriculum. They are used in conjunction with the ACT curriculum frameworks, which provide the basis for curriculum planning and teaching. With this trial of the profiles now complete, we are ready to begin the task of monitoring student learning outcomes and collecting system-wide data. This Government has made clear statements about its commitment to community consultation in implementing new initiatives. To ensure that all key stakeholders are involved in decisions, they will be invited to participate in an outcomes and reporting reference group, soon to be convened. It will be this group's responsibility to advise the Government on how to introduce this important initiative from 1997.

The issues that the reference group will address are complex, with many questions to be resolved. For example, they will provide advice on the most appropriate assessment instrument to meet the needs of ACT students. The Government is also concerned that the privacy of students and parents is protected in implementing this initiative. Recommendations of measures designed to ensure privacy of information will be a primary responsibility of this reference group. The group will include parents and teachers, including principals and the Australian Education Union, together with departmental representatives. An external expert adviser will be appointed to assist the group. If non-government schools take up our offer to join this initiative, a suitable representative will be included on the reference group.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The noise level in the chamber is too high.

MR STEFANIAK: The terms of reference for this group will include providing advice to the Government on an appropriate, cost-effective program of assessment for literacy and numeracy which is directly related to ACT curriculum and the needs of the ACT community. The reference group will address the following issues: The most appropriate nationally available external assessment instrument, possibly used in conjunction with teacher judgment; the year levels at which this assessment should take place; the format

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .