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Equity in delivery

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1.1 Holding explicit high expectations and aspirations for every student

Highlighted in Equity and Quality in Education: Supporting Disadvantaged Students and Schools (PDF, 4.8MB), holding high expectations and aspirations for every student in classrooms and across the whole school is a powerful positive influence on student achievement and attitudes, and equally important to students in both alternative settings and high-performing mainstream schools.

Though alternative settings contribute to a broader inclusive education system that caters to the needs of all young people, tailored programs and wrap-around support should not result in 'lowering the bar'.

All schools have core responsibilities to support the learning gain of every student — supporting them to aspire to and achieve goals for their education outcomes and their future.

1.1.1 The school sends clear messages to their students and families that they expect every student to succeed

  • Explicit and consistent expectations for behaviour, and whole school approaches to classroom and behaviour management
  • High expectations demonstrated through rich curriculum experiences a full timetable, 25 hours learning per week available throughout the full school term; multiple certification options and diverse pathways are available according to goals and aspirations; and instruction that builds concentration and student effort to comprehend complex ideas and to master skills
  • Clear and consistent expectations for attendance, with formal and explicit flexible arrangements for those students who require them
  • Every member of the school rejects deficit explanations for poor outcomes or low performance, and plans for positive outcomes across all areas of engagement and transitions/pathways
  • All young people are provided with a breadth of education options and are encouraged to hold high aspirations of themselves. This includes where relevant, pathways to tertiary education
  • School identifies when a student’s requirement for an alternative setting may be temporary, and transitions to a mainstream setting are communicated to students as a valid and celebrated outcome

Resources for schools

Spotlight practices – high expectations at Maleny State High School (PDF, 70KB)

1.1.2 Removing barriers to engagement through wrap-around support

1.2 Monitoring individual student learning progress throughout each term, through a mix of formative assessment and benchmark measures

In any classroom in any school, students will be at different stages in their learning and progressing at different rates. Such academic disparities (PDF, 4MB) can be as much as the equivalent of 4.5 years of schooling.

In alternative settings this continuum can be even broader, and progress is best framed as distance-travelled for individual students rather than inter-personal comparisons. Teacher monitoring of progress against similar age students across the system also provides insights into the student’s relative progress and post-school prospects.

Through close and frequent monitoring of individual learning progress, classroom teachers can better understand each student’s knowledge, skills, and learning difficulties to ensure classroom activities meet each student’s needs. This means all students at all levels are appropriately engaged, challenged, and extended.

1.2.1 Monitoring individual achievement
1.2.2 Teachers closely monitor the progress of individual students and continually adjust their teaching in response to the progress that individuals are making

1.3 Offering students opportunities to participate in NAPLAN and other benchmark testing

At a school level, information gained through NAPLAN and other benchmark testing is a valuable tool for identifying trends across student cohorts and tailoring learning provisions to address the broader student cohorts needs as suitable.

By utilising data on all schools, schools can benchmark their own student outcomes to their improvement agenda. For individual students, such standardised assessments complement formative assessment approaches and are useful for establishing students’ strengths and learning opportunities in key curriculum areas, and identifying progress towards learning goals.

Critically, participation in these tests is an opportunity afforded to all students in all schools in Australia, and students in both mainstream and alternative settings have a right to equitable access and participation.

1.3.1 Using benchmark testing to identify trends across student cohorts

  • Students are afforded the opportunity to participate in NAPLAN and other benchmark testing available to their peers
  • Staff are supported to develop capabilities in selecting, applying and interpreting relevant benchmark tests
  • Benchmark testing is applied to whole school plans and procedures
  • Benchmark testing is a component of a wide range of data used to provide insights into student attainment (including Year 12 outcomes and destinations data)

Resources for schools

Past NAPLAN test papers and answers

NAPLAN test preparation

1.4 Ensuring broad curriculum offerings, providing every young person a breadth of opportunities, based on the Australian Curriculum or ACARA accredited programs

Successful school systems are those that combine excellence and equity in their education priorities (PDF, 4.8MB), ensuring all children have opportunities for a good quality education. Every state and non-state school, including alternative education settings, is required to deliver a high quality education – affording a life of choice to every student in every school.

A broad range of curriculum offerings is crucial to keeping students engaged in their schooling and ensuring that a broad range of educational and employment pathways are available. Addressing literacy and numeracy gaps need not compromise the range of curriculum offerings within an alternative setting.

As outlined in Effective Strategies to Increase School Completion Report (PDF, 1.2MB), a broad range of curriculum offerings can be effective in improving student engagement and retention when delivered in a format that takes into account individual students' current needs and abilities.

1.4.1 Broad curriculum offerings to maximise educational and employment pathways

  • Broad curriculum offerings are provided and are responsive to individual goals and aspirations, as evidenced by differentiated choices for each student
  • Young people are engaged in the Australian Curriculum to the end of Year 10 wherever possible and appropriate
  • Every student is provided with the opportunity for deep, substantive and sustained learning
  • A range of curriculum offerings are provided, well beyond literacy and numeracy - preparing young people for diverse transition pathways (including tertiary education where appropriate)
  • Senior Secondary curriculum options empower young people through choice, attainment and preparation for genuine post-school pathways. Young people access individualised guidance that considers individual goals and aspirations.

Resources for schools

Providing the Australian Curriculum in Prep to Year 10

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Last updated 03 February 2021