Call to ACARA:
On 2 July, I put out a call on behalf of the Society to ACARA’s CEO, David de Carvalho, to extend the current consultation period for the revised National Curriculum, Mathematics, and to start a proper process of engagement with the mathematics discipline. Mr de Carvalho was swift to respond, asserting that there has been extensive engagement with teachers, curriculum experts and professional associations, and that the consultation period will close on 8 July as scheduled.
On 5 July the exchange of letters was followed up with a meeting between ACARA representatives and AustMS VP Geoff Prince and me. The meeting confirmed that mathematical scientists were not involved in any official capacity in the preparation of the revised curriculum. We re-enforced our insistence on the provision of detailed information about the draft curriculum’s development and the justification of its structure. A request to ACARA has been made to present the Society with a clear model for engagement with the discipline in the coming months, before the new curriculum is finalised.
You can read the original letter to ACARA and their response below.
S. Ole Warnaar
President of AustMS
Dear Mr de Carvalho,
The Australian Mathematical Society (AustMS) is calling on the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to extend the consultation phase for the proposed new Foundation to Year 10 Australian Curriculum, Mathematics, beyond its 8 July deadline, and to significantly widen the consultation process.
As stated by ACARA, the current National Curriculum requires “refining, updating and decluttering to better support teachers”. The draft document, as released by ACARA, does not appear to meet these descriptors, and includes a number of quite radical changes, not just to the curriculum itself but also to the way some of the curriculum is to be taught. The draft document is opaque, ill-explained by the supporting What has changed and why? documentation, and its potential implementation has raised significant concern within the mathematics community.
The AustMS urgently calls on ACARA to communicate much better — through Town-hall style meetings with stakeholders in the Mathematics and Education communities — what informed the proposed curriculum in Mathematics, what it regards as world‘s best practice in Mathematics curricula and education, and what evidence it has that the proposed changes will address the long-term downward trends in performance in Mathematics by Australian school students.
Without these necessary steps by ACARA the AustMS cannot support or have confidence in the new curriculum in Mathematics.
Prof. S. Ole Warnaar
President of the Australian Mathematical Society (AustMS)
Dear Professor Warnaar
I refer to your letter received today calling for an extension of the consultation period for the Australian Curriculum Review.
ACARA has been given a clear remit from education ministers to conclude the review this year and publish the revised Australian Curriculum on a new website at the start of next year. We set very clear timelines for the review process, and have publicly communicated those timelines and processes at the start of the review.
There has been extensive engagement with teachers, curriculum experts and professional associations in the lead up to the public consultation window – and the 10-week consultation period is the opportunity for all members of the community to provide their feedback on the revisions we have proposed.
The consultation period will close on 8 July as scheduled. All feedback will be carefully considered and final revisions made and provided for education ministers’ consideration before the end of the year.
I encourage you to provide us with your feedback, including the proposed revisions you disagree with, through the consultation website by the closing date of 8 July 2021.
David de Carvalho
Chief Executive Officer
2 July 2021