Page 3716 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 23 October 2013

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implementing the nationally agreed benchmarks for assessing and reporting student achievement. It is these standards that will provide the consistency in reporting within and across schools that our community expects from a leading education system such as ours.

The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority—ACARA—also provides examples of student work with comments indicating to teachers why a grade has been given. The annotated work samples provide a critical tool for teachers in applying the achievement standards to assess and report students’ progress to families.

The online nature and accessibility of the Australian curriculum by the community also provides significantly increased levels of accountability and transparency. Families can access the curriculum content and each standard online. They can view examples of the work expected at each stage of their children’s schooling. This will strengthen the opportunities for building collaborative relationships with families at their child’s school, opening the doors for better communication and outcomes for everyone and allowing parents to stay at the centre of their child’s learning. Reporting using the achievement standards will build on the ACT’s strong tradition of providing families with detailed information on the progress of their children.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, how will this achievement standard improve the confidence parents and schools have in the quality of their schooling?

MS BURCH: Canberra families already have a high level of confidence in the reporting and feedback provided to parents, and in the quality of schooling delivered in our government schools. The introduction of the Australian curriculum and the use of common achievement standards across ACT education will only serve to increase these high levels of parent confidence. Every ACT parent wants an “A” at their school to mean the same as an “A” at another school. They want confidence that regardless of what school their child attends, they are getting the same high standard of education and are being assessed to the same standard.

As I mentioned earlier, the Australian curriculum and the use of nationally agreed achievement standards provide parents with unprecedented levels of access to and reporting of their students’ learning in the ACT. While the grades and marks given by teachers have always been applied rigorously, parents have mentioned to me that they have not always been given the tools to understand those marks or the confidence that those marks are easily comparable to different schools or different jurisdictions.

The move to a nationally consistent achievement standard will provide greater transparency and openness in how grades are applied not just here in the ACT but across the country. I am very pleased to lead the nation in these changes. I know that parents have certainly said to me that they welcome these changes.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, how does the ACT schooling system apply consistent grades across different schools?

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