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The Australian Mathematics Curriculum: Where did we go wrong? Where can we go right?

Written by James Burnett

This past month, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) began its review of the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics to “refine, realign and declutter” the content. This was most likely due to Australia’s poor showing on recent international tests in mathematics. The original standards were written with the intention of addressing the “inch deep and mile wide” curricula that each state had at that time. It’s aim was to provide greater focus to key content in the years where it mattered most, while also freeing up teachers’ time to address that refocus by removing the less essential content. Unfortunately, they missed the mark. Although ACARA affirms that the current standards are “consistent with some of the best curricula internationally,” we are still using valuable teaching hours in the early grades to address less relevant topics, such as probability. Incidentally, our economic peers in Singapore, Finland, and the USA all omitted probability from the early years of their primary curricula long ago. Read more