skip to main content

Research Developments from ACER

Subscribe
School
{rd-image-caption}

Image ©Shutterstock/ Bplanet

Time for a proficiency-based approach to the curriculum

05 February 2018

Rather than an age-level approach to the curriculum, identify proficiency levels.

The way most countries organise the school curriculum is not consistent with what we know about the conditions for successful learning, ACER Chief Executive Prof Geoff Masters AO explains in Teacher.

‘The attempt to specify what an individual should learn on the basis of their age or year level flies in the face of what we know about learning itself,’ says Prof Masters. ‘Successful learning is most likely when learners are presented with appropriate levels of challenge. Learning is far less likely when challenges are within students’ comfort zones or so far ahead of them that they are unable to engage meaningfully and so become frustrated.’

Rather than an age-level approach to the curriculum, an alternative is to structure the curriculum in proficiency levels, where a proficiency level is an absolute level of attainment or competence in an area of learning, regardless of age or year of school.

‘An equitable system would be one in which every student was provided with stretch challenges appropriate to their current level of attainment and in which every student was expected to make excellent progress every year – regardless of their starting point. Such a system also would be more likely to produce a lift in our national performance,’ Prof Masters concludes. ■

Read the full article:

‘A different way to organise the school curriculum’ by Geoff Masters is published in Teacher. www.teachermagazine.com.au/columnists/geoff-masters/a-different-way-to-organise-the-school-curriculum

Related articles

Education & Development
Teacher absenteeism in Indonesia | RD

Teacher absenteeism in Indonesia

16 March 2015

A comprehensive new study reveals that teacher absenteeism in Indonesia is declining, and provides evidence for policy makers focused on improving teaching and learning, as Phil McKenzie explains.

Evaluation, Quality & Standards, Survey, School, Education & Development

School
Reversing Australia’s downward spiral in STEM | RD

Reversing Australia’s downward spiral in STEM

23 May 2018

Changing the curriculum is key to reversing the decline in Australia’s STEM teaching and learning results, says a report by Dr Michael Timms.

School, Featured school

Vocational & Adult
Improving confidence in expert judgements in medical specialty examinations | RD

Improving confidence in expert judgements in medical specialty examinations

22 May 2018

ACER is helping to set performance standards and improve examiner consistency in examinations for medical specialty colleges, report Daniel Urbach and Jacob Pearce.

Assessment, Higher Education, Vocational & Adult, Featured vocational & adult