As a means of achieving greater national consistency in curriculum outcomes across the eight States and Territories, Ministers at the July 2003 meeting of MCEETYA requested that Statements of Learning be developed in English, mathematics, science and civics and citizenship. It was agreed that Statements of Learning would describe essential skills, knowledge, understandings and capacities that all young Australians should have the opportunity to learn by the end of Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.
It was proposed that, once completed, Statements and their Professional Elaborations should be used by State and Territory departments or curriculum authorities (their primary audience) to guide the future development of relevant curriculum documents.
Ministers requested that the Statements of Learning for English be developed first, with other domains to follow, depending on the success of the work on English. AESOC has overseen the development of this work, and the work has been project-managed by Curriculum Corporation.
In February 2005, Ministers gave in principle support for the Statements of Learning for English and noted the associated Professional Elaborations.
As a consequence of the conditions outlined in this new legislation, MCEETYA also requested AESOC to provide advice on the relationship between Statements of Learning and national standards and testing. This work is currently being progressed.
While requesting this additional work MCEETYA did, however, endorse a position that testing would not be developed to match each of the junctures of the new Statements of Learning, and confirmed that the existing testing program would satisfy the relevant conditions of the new legislation. At this time MCEETYA also added requirements for a Year 9 cohort test for literacy and numeracy and for testing of the full range of abilities for literacy and numeracy, rather than only for the minimum Benchmark standard.
After an intensive period of development during 2005 under the direction of AESOC and the project management of Curriculum Corporation, and with expertise contributed by all States and Territories, Ministers approved the Statements of Learning for mathematics, science, civics and citizenship and ICT in August 2006.
MCEETYA has recently endorsed a process for jurisdictions to comply with the relevant section of the Australian Government Schools Assistance Act 2004 on ‘the implementation of Statements of Learning’.
This process includes:
ministerial ‘sign off’ (by no later than 1 January 2008) that syllabus and curriculum documents used to underpin learning programs in government and non-government schools within jurisdictions have addressed and incorporated the now endorsed Statements of Learning;
the provision to the Australian Government Minister for Education of a detailed map, also by 1 January 2008, showing how the specific elements of the Statements of Learning are present in the relevant curriculum documents (mentioned above);
jurisdictions having the ability, if they choose, to explicitly use Statements of Learning in the re-drafting of curriculum documents as a means of satisfying the mapping requirements for a domain. This option may suit jurisdictions that have a major curriculum/syllabus review planned prior to 1 January 2008.