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General capabilities

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Structure of the materials

The materials for each general capability are in three parts:

  • an introduction that describes the nature and scope of the capability, its place in the learning areas and its evidence base
  • organising elements that underpin a learning continuum
  • a learning continuum that describes the knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions that students can reasonably be expected to have developed at particular stages of schooling.

Learning continua

The general capabilities are presented as learning continua or sequences that describe the knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions that students can reasonably be expected to have developed by the end of particular years of schooling.

The learning continua are based on the belief that students need opportunities to develop capabilities over time and across learning areas. What is learned in the early years supports all subsequent learning. The learning continua assume it is possible to map common paths for general capability development while recognising that each student’s pace of development may be influenced by factors such as their prior experience, sense of self in the world and cognitive capacity.

Capability descriptions include general examples and learning area examples that illustrate ways each general capability has been addressed in specific learning area content descriptions. These can be accessed online by selecting examples at the end of each capability description. As each learning area is published, further examples will be added to illustrate how general capabilities are addressed in that learning area.

All learning continua typically, but not exclusively, align with years of schooling. Stages in each learning continuum are labelled from Levels 1 to 6 to emphasise that the continuum presents a sequence of learning independent of student age. An accompanying statement indicates that the level typically applies to students by the end of a given year of schooling to show the relationship with learning area content descriptions.

For Literacy, Level 1 is divided into five sub-levels — Level 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d and 1e. Levels 1a-1d represent the development of early literacy skills with a particular emphasis on communication. Level 1a begins with unintentional communication progressing to intentional symbolic communication at Level 1d. Level 1e begins to focus on the application of literacy skills.

For Numeracy, Level 1 is divided into two sub-levels — Level 1a and 1b to represent the progression from early numeracy to numeracy skills.  Level 1a has a particular emphasis on the language of numeracy in everyday contexts and Level 1b an emphasis on the application of numeracy skills. Level 1a assumes students are able to communicate with intent.

Each learning continuum is available online in two views:

  • the first shows expected learning across the levels in a table format
  • the second shows expected learning for each level in turn, in text format.
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