NSW education interim report finds curriculum too focused on HSC exams

Boys sitting a school exam.

The State Government today released an interim report into the review of what students learn from Kindergarten to Year 12.

The report, written by Professor Geoff Masters, was highly critical of the current syllabus, particularly what it described as its “crowded nature”.

“[This] is not conducive to teaching in-depth or helping students see the relevance of what they are learning,” the report said.

The report also raised concerns about the “lock-step nature” of the curriculum, which the review concluded did not allow for flexibility for teachers to meet the learning needs of all students.

The report also found the curriculum was doing a disservice to senior students.

“Teaching and learning in the senior secondary school are perceived to be overly focused on examination preparation, maximising the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), and university entrance,” it said.

It said the curriculum was, “insufficiently focused on equipping every student with the knowledge, skills and attributes they will require for further learning, life and work”.

Significant changes to the curriculum are proposed to decrease the amount of content and reduce the number of subjects offered in senior years.

“The review envisages syllabuses that are leaner in content and more focused on developing deep understandings of disciplinary concepts and principles,” the report said.

“A curriculum structure that better recognises and accommodates the wide variability in students’ levels of attainment.”

‘We see standards dropping’

Premier Gladys Berejiklian welcomed the interim report and supported a “back-to-basics approach”.

“Students need to have strong foundations in maths, English and science to be prepared for the jobs of the future and for attaining lifelong skills,” she said.

The final report with formal recommendations will be handed down next year.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the review had made some bold recommendations.

“I’m really pleased with what’s come out of the interim review,” she said.

“I think it’s in line with a lot of the feedback that I’ve been getting from those working in the education sector, especially around the decluttering of the curriculum.

“I think that the content over the last few years has gotten too broad.”

Shadow Education Minister Prue Carr said the Government must act on the review’s recommendations.

“Parents and the education community have been calling [for] a review to the curriculum for some time,” she said.

“We see standards dropping, we less and less students going into vocational training which has resulted in a dramatic skill shortage.

“This has taken far too long and in addition it will take ten years to implement.”

[“source=abc”]