CPP1 WK3: Curriculum Frameworks

Required Reading

Further reading
  • This week we'll focus on the text chapters and the various syllabus documents discussed below.
  • If time permits have a look around the 'rationale' and 'aim' of the organisations listed below.


This week the aim is to begin to familiarise yourself with the syllabus and curriculum framework of the Key Learning Area (KLA) you will work in. Ww also want to look at a number of the issues to consider when thinking about your curriculum. I have included a recorded overview below to introduce you to a number of the key features. It is imperative though that you explore the text chapters and your related syllabus documents as we will build upon these in coming weeks and in CPP1 workshops.
The text chapters are your first priority. You may want to pace your exploration of these organisations and documents over the coming weeks, however you will need to be familair with your syllabus before the CPP1 workshop.

This week's Lecture


Documents & organisations to familiarise yourself with.

NB: you will see 'curriculum' is used differently in each context - how about that for confusing!

The Australian Curriculum (National Curriculum)

  • Where there is an Australian Curriculum it supersedes the state or territory document.
  • Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).
  • The Shape of the Australian Curriculum (interesting name) sets out the broad intent and approach of the Australian Curriculum.
  • Phase 1 has seen what is termed the curriculum for English, History, Mathematics and Science completed. These can be viewed by the 'curriculum' tab along the top of the website. You will see that they are interactive web documents, print copies are deliberately not being produced. The best starting point is the guided tour video on the left hand side. The consultation draft for Geography is available on the consultation page tab.

ACT Curriculum Frameworks

  • Years (k to) 7-10 in the ACT are all taught using the 'Every Chance to Learn' framework. Familiarise yourself with the framework (top left link), particularly the Essential Learning Achievements (ELA's) for your KLA.
  • Years 11-12 in the ACT have a range of courses that make up the the curriculum, these are overseen by the Board of Senior Secondary Studies (BSSS). You'll need to scroll through the courses to see which are relevant to you. Beware, this can get confusing but is an artifact of ACT approaches to 'curriculum' and the evolution of an independent board in 1998 when the ACT ceased using NSW syllabi.
  • Bridging document for the ACT for Australian Curriculum implementation.

NSW Curriculum

Professional Standards

  • Australian Institute of Teaching & School Leadership (AITSL)
    • It is important to familiarise yourself with the AITSL Standards. These need to be read critically and viewed as only one part of the equation. Please note that this course is aimed at reaching the 'Graduate' standards. When considering the standards I recommend looking at Connell's 'Good Teachers on Dangerous Grounds' reading (that you did in Ed Foundations last week). Personally I argue in favour of the meta-competencies Connell talks about, and I'd suggest that this course works to implicity build some of what these may be.
    • this is the link to AITSL generally.
    • You'll see in the professional experience reports that we have developed the approach of professional conversations at the domain level. This is a deliberate break with past practice, and practice in NSW, of atomized reports against each of the 64 standards.
  • The ACT Teacher Quality Institute (TQI) is your local registration authority. The TQI has the approach of following national approaches as advocated by AITSL rather than re-interpreting AITSL.


For you to Investigate G / UG

1. Explore your relevant syllabus document above, just have a look around each.2. From the text readings. a. How can our pedagogies help promote more equitable social outcomes? should this be teachers work? b. Why might planning be important for effective teaching?3. Get to know your documentation using the below activities, you need to know a bit about how they look and what is in them for the CPP1 workshop. Take your time before then.

Helping you get to know your documentsComplete these activities to help you understand the key features of your subject documentation and its intent. You will need your relevant documentation open on your computer.

1) What is your immediate impression about the breadth of KLA your subject sits within?

2) Have a look at the Rationale of the subject.
  • Write a paragraph about why the subject is in the curriculum and your opinion of this reason.
  • How does the stated Rationale compare to your reason for choosing to teach the subject?
3) Now that you have an idea about the reason the subject is in the curriculum have a look at the Aim (Goals), Objective and Outcomes of the subject. These are very important aspects of each subject as they give you guidance as to what students need to be able to do and understand at the completion of the course. It is around particularly the outcomes that your lessons and overall scope and sequence will be organised. If we regard the Rationale as an overarching principle of 'why', then these are the what of the course (in the sense of skills & aptitudes).
  • How do the NSW, ACT & Australian Curriculum (AC) versions compare?
  • What are the key skills and aptitudes of your subject?
  • How can you develop them in your students?
4) The next important issue is the standard of student achievement. Have a look back at the page you located the syllabus at. You will notice that in the NSW examples there are 'Course Performance Descriptors', in the BSS Frameworks and course outlines there are marking guidelines and in Every Chance to learn a slightly looser description of achievement. The AC has a separate tab on descriptors of achievement. We'll look more at these in CPP3, for now the idea is to just get a feel for what students are expected to produce. Looking at your subject:
  • What are the main differences between the bands of achievement?
  • Describe what a piece of student work would look like at the top and bottom level (i.e. don't repeat the words, actually describe the features in detail)
  • Often there is one word difference, write a description for each of the following words without using the word itself in your definition. Basic, sound, thorough, extensive.
  • What is the difference between an ACT A level and T level course (years 11 & 12)?
5) To help teachers adjust to standards referenced assessment NSW has developed an Assessment Resource Centre (ARC), it is a very useful site with work samples and grade examples for all subjects. We'll look at this in more detail in CPP3.

6) NSW has particular issues around benchmarking performance. This is common in a high stakes exam environment like that of the NSW Higher School Certificate. To assist teachers past papers and some samples are available at the website and at the ARC site. In the ACT moderation is used across schools, an outline of the process is available on the website. Remember though we come back to all this in CPP3 - sure you can't wait. Have a look at both sites.
  • How useful is each site to your teaching?
  • How would you use these sites in your teaching?
7) Great you say, I know why I'm teaching it (or at least why others say I should be teaching it, the skills and aptitudes I need to develop and the levels of achievement I will judge students by. But what am I actually teaching them?
- In the ACT Every Chance to Learn document you have the Essential Content statements (or EC's).
- In the ACT BSSS courses you have content lists for each course.
- In NSW you have the Learn About statements from each unit.
- In the AC you have content descriptors and elaborations.
  • What is the relationship between content and outcomes?
  • Which is more important, content or outcomes?
  • Create a 1 page summary of the content students will learn in your subject from 7-10 for the relevant syllabus (you choose NSW, ACT, AC)
  • Create another 1 page summary for years 11 & 12 for the relevant syllabus (you choose NSW, ACT, AC)