‘Australia’s future depends upon each citizen having the necessary knowledge, understanding, skills and values for a productive and rewarding life in an educated, just and open society’ (Brady & Kennedy 2007) these skills, values and knowledge are gained throughout the early years of individual’s lives as they attend schools. The Australian Government ensures that all schools develop students in the appropriate manner by deriving a national curriculum by which all schools must follow. The national curriculum is constructed by The Australian curriculum, assessment and reporting authority (ACARA).
How is the curriculum organized?
There are four stages in the development of the Australian curriculum. The first stage requires the development of a rough or draft ‘Shape’ of the Australian Curriculum. The second stage develops a written document out lining the curriculum, including a content description and achievement standards for years K-12. This is done by a team of writers with supervision and guidance from expert advisory panels and ACARA curriculum staff. The third stage is the implementation planning stage. The curriculum is received by schools and teachers so they can plan to implement the curriculum in their classroom. Individual States and Territories can then plan to implement the curriculum according to their individual needs with support and guidance from ACARA. The fourth and final stage of developing the Australian curriculum involves reviewing the feedback given from the implementation stage. The curriculum is now closely monitored and improved. The Australian curriculum is developed into three phases. The first phase of the curriculum consists of English, maths, science and history. A second phase involves the development of languages, geography and the arts. As for the third phase, it has been decided by Australian education ministers that it will focus on health and physical education, information and communications technology, design and technology, economics, business as well as civics and citizenship. The Australian curriculum is organized into content descriptions and achievement standards, ‘Content descriptions specify what teachers are expected to teach. They include knowledge, skills and understanding for each learning area and are described for each year level’ (ACARA 2010) this detail to content gives scope and sequence to teaching and learning and so teachers can focus more on how to teach content to individual students interests and needs rather than what to teach from each topic or subject. ‘Achievement standards will describe the quality of learning students should demonstrate in relation to the content for each year of schooling’ ((ACARA 2010) these achievement standards help teachers to review such things as lesson plans and teaching strategies to determine if they were successful in meeting standards of student learning and development.
How is it related to various models of curriculum?
‘There are two broad types of models for developing curriculum: the technical models based on a sequence (fixed or flexible) of the substantive elements of objectives, content, method and assessment; and the descriptive models based on deliberation’ (Brady & Kennedy 2007). The Australian curriculum has similarities to both models as the process of developing an adequate curriculum is both complicated and multifaceted and so aspects from just one model would not be adequate. A lot of the aspects of developing the Australian curriculum are similar with those of the objectives model, also known as Tyler’s (1949) model. These similarities are mainly due to the curriculums out-comes based approach. This is shown with the use of the achievement standards which are outlined in the curriculum. The four central questions that Tyler’s rationale is based upon link directly with the Australian curriculum as both the curriculum and the objectives model first question...