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General capabilities

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General capabilities materials for schools and teachers

These materials are presented as a resource to help teachers:

  • develop a shared understanding of the nature, scope and sequence of the general capabilities in the Australian Curriculum
  • confirm their understanding of intended learning wherever general capabilities are identified in learning area content descriptions and elaborations
  • plan for and guide students’ development of the general capabilities in school and classroom learning programs.

Development of the general capabilities materials

First published in 2010 and revised in 2011 following a national consultation process, the general capabilities materials were developed to inform the writing of learning area curriculum (Foundation to Year 10) and to ensure the strong and coherent inclusion of the general capabilities in the Australian Curriculum.

They were developed by writing teams with expertise in the particular capabilities, together with advice from the General Capabilities Advisory Group, academics, focus groups of teachers and curriculum experts from state and territory education authorities. The materials build on significant state and territory initiatives and practice, and are informed by national and international research.

More recently, general capabilities materials have been further developed to assist schools and teachers in understanding the general capabilities in the Australian Curriculum and in supporting the individual learning needs of diverse learners. This work includes the extension of learning continua from three to six levels in ICT capability, Personal and social capability, Ethical understanding and Intercultural understanding. In Literacy an additional five levels and in Numeracy an additional two levels have been included at Level 1 to address learning in the early years and to maximise the curriculum’s flexibility for all students, assisting teachers to cater for student diversity and personalise learning. For more detailed information go to Student Diversity.

Work associated with general capabilities is ongoing. Future work includes:

  • verification of the extended learning continua in schools 
  • monitoring and review of the materials as additional learning areas are developed and approved by Ministers for implementation in schools
  • investigating whether there is a need to further extend other capability learning continua to better reflect the learning needs of all students
  • revision of the ICT capability in conjunction with the development of the Australian Curriculum: Technologies
  • following completion of all learning area curriculum, a review of the extent to which general capabilities have been addressed in the Australian curriculum.

Teaching and assessment of general capabilities

Teachers are expected to teach and assess general capabilities to the extent that they are incorporated within each learning area.

State and territory school authorities will determine whether and how student learning of the general capabilities will be further assessed and reported.

For some students, it may be necessary to adjust the levels of complexity and the processes they use to develop capabilities. However, the role and place of general capabilities in the Australian Curriculum remain the same for all students.

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