Page 3717 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 23 October 2013

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MS BURCH: I thank Ms Porter for her interest. The ACT government is committed to ensuring that consistent high-quality education remains the hallmark of our education system. Key to this commitment are school and system-based processes and supports around implementing the Australian curriculum and the consistent and agreed use of the achievement standards in assessing and reporting student achievement.

For the first time in the ACT, all schools are required to report student progress using achievement standards as an agreed reference point for assessing student learning. This work builds on the ACT’s longstanding and nationally established record of formal moderation to ensure consistency in the reporting of student achievement within the college sector.

A common core curriculum coupled with nationally-agreed achievement standards provide an explicit defined set of reference points from which schools plan, teach, assess and report on student learning. It is within this framework that the Education and Training Directorate and I continue to have a strong commitment to ensuring consistency in assessing and reporting student learning. As I have mentioned, it is probably one of the key common comments that I hear from parents that we are now able to provide that consistency and confidence to them.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Berry.

MS BERRY: Minister, what support is being provided to schools and teachers to ensure they understand this transition?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Berry for her interest. The Australian curriculum provides all ACT public schools with a platform from which to build new and innovative education practices and provides increased opportunity for collaboration between schools in advancing ACT educational outcomes. This has included considerable collaboration between the Education and Training Directorate and our Catholic and independent school education partners.

Developing and maintaining a strong dialogue between the directorate and the schools has been a core element in ensuring that schools and teachers have a common understanding and expectation as they transition to the Australian curriculum. This work includes a series of standard system-level reporting templates, changes to reporting practice, and workshops on engaging with the achievement standards and the annotated work samples. Regular school bulletins, school and community newsletters and a parent information pamphlet have supported schools in this transition.

I am pleased to report to the Assembly that the analysis of the ACT grade data indicates a strong agreement with the expected distribution of the A to E grades within and across our schools. This suggests that the ACT is getting it right. This rich data has been provided to school leaders as a key tool in the cycle of continuous improvement and is already forming the basis of deep and productive discussions and conversations on improving outcomes for students.

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