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indigenous history to be taught in HSC

Changes to HSC syllabus to take effect in 2018

The NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Services (BOSTES) has released draft syllabuses for 17 HSC courses in English, history, maths and science in a bid to modernise education for the ‘Asian Century’.

BOSTES President Tom Alegounarias said in a media release that the draft syllabuses allow for deeper learning opportunities to students and “a richer engagement in the subjects they choose for their senior years of school”.

“Increasing content depth also supports more analytical assessment enabling us to also redesign High School Certificate (HSC) exam questions.

“For maths courses, common content and marking is being introduced to ensure students studying the higher level maths courses are recognised and to reduce any perceived incentive to study maths below their ability for an ATAR advantage,” Mr Alegounarias said.

Proposes Changes at a Glance:

  • English – Mandatory unit will focus on spelling, grammar, vocabular and punctuation
  • Mathematics – Statistics to be included in all courses. Increased emphasis on problem solving
  • Science – Promotion of critical thinking over rote learning of facts
  • History – Further opportunities to study Asian history, feminism and Indigenous leaders. Also, deeper analysis of WWII and its impact

Speaking to AAP, Mr Alegounarias also indicated that revisions to English seek to overcome a 30-year trend in education “to underplay grammar”.

BOSTES has proposed modern history electives to highlight the role of women and Indigenous leaders such as Pemulwuy, Eddie Mabo and Faith Bandler, but some syllabuses in technology and Asian language courses won’t be reviewed until next year.

Once confirmed, the new syllabuses will be taught to Year 11 students in 2018, giving teachers a year to adapt.

The drafts are open for public consultation until August 31.

Exam room.

Queensland to welcome ATAR in education overhaul

Queensland’s new budget was reveal this week, and with it details regarding how the state plans to transition from its outdated Overall Positions (OP) system to the more widely used ATAR.

25 per cent of the State Government’s budget is to be allocated to education, with $24 million over the 2016-17 financial year going towards the assessment transition.

Forward estimates reveal $72.4 million is expected to be spent on delivering the new system, which will become available for students entering Year 11 in 2018.

“New senior assessment arrangements will combine the advantages of school-based assessment developed and marked by classroom teachers, with external assessment set and marked by the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority,” Education Minister Kate Jones told Brisbane Times.

An additional $102 million has also been slated for enhancing school support and administrative staff over the next four years.

“The Queensland Government is committed to ensuring state schools are equipped with high quality admin and support staff so that principals and teachers can focus on maximising student learning outcomes,” Jones said.

“Changes in salary classifications for business service managers, administrative officers and others school support staff will be implemented from 2017 to better reflect the range of their responsibilities in contemporary schools.”

Fail card from Shutterstock.

Ever-lowering ATAR scores for new student teachers

Latest figures show more students with ATARs under 50 are being admitted to teaching degrees, raising questions about minimum entry standards from the Australian Education Union (AEU).

The rate of entrants with ATARs under 50 has nearly doubled since 2013, rising from 7.2 per cent to 14.3 per cent, which the AEU says indicates a failure by the Coalition to introduce means of addressing falling standards or an oversupply of graduates.

Ms. Correna Haythorpe, Federal President of the AEU, said the Government must impose minimum entry standards in order to maintain the future quality of Australia’s teaching body.

“Entry scores for teaching degrees have dropped steadily over the last decade, and are now significantly lower than for other courses.

“This is a far cry from successful school systems like Singapore which recruit teachers from the top 30 per cent of high school graduates,” she says.

Figures released by the Federal Education Department shows that 1062 students were admitted to teaching courses with ATARs under 50, up from 894 in 2015 and in 2016 over half of all teaching students admitted with an ATAR in 2016 had one of less than 70.

Ms. Haythorpe highlights the Government’s stated intention to put teacher quality ahead of funding, but as thus far failed to take meaningful steps in this direction.

“The Coalition wants to cut needs-based Gonski funding after 2017, and says they will focus on teacher quality ahead of resources. Yet they have failed to do anything to address this issue or limit the number of students entering teaching degrees.”