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Implications for teaching, assessment and reporting

In the Australian Curriculum: The Arts, the two strands of Making and Responding are interrelated and inform and support each other. When developing teaching and learning programs, teachers combine aspects of the strands in different ways to provide students with learning experiences that meet their needs and interests. The content descriptions may be approached in any order which is suitable to the particular teaching and learning application. The curriculum provides many opportunities for integration of learning between Arts subjects and with other learning areas.

Engaging learning programs will provide opportunities for students to:

  • develop skills and dispositions such as curiosity, imagination, creativity and evaluation
  • engage all aspects of perception: sensory, emotional, cognitive, physical and spiritual
  • work individually and collaboratively.

Although Dance, Drama, Media Arts, Music, and Visual Arts are described individually in The Arts, students require opportunities to study and make artworks that feature fusion of traditional art forms and practices to create hybrid artworks. This learning involves exploration of traditional and contemporary arts practices from different cultures, including works from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures as suitable to community and cultural protocols. Such works might:

  • combine performance, audio and/or visual aspects
  • combine processes typical of the different Arts subjects
  • involve other learning areas
  • exist in physical, digital or virtual spaces
  • combine traditional, contemporary and emerging media and materials
  • be created individually or collaboratively.

Teachers in schools are the key to providing students with rich, sustained, rigorous learning in each of the subjects in the Arts. The arts industry complements the provision of the Arts curriculum in schools through programs and partnerships. The industry increasingly provides specialist services for schools, as appropriate, through experiences such as visiting performances, demonstrations and exhibitions, artists in residence, teacher professional development and access for students and teachers to specialised facilities in galleries, concert halls, theatres and other arts venues.

While content descriptions do not repeat key skills across the bands, it should be noted that many aspects of The Arts curriculum are recurring, and teachers need to provide ample opportunity for revision and consolidation of previously introduced knowledge and skills.

Students learn at different rates and in different stages. Depending on each student’s rate of learning or the prior experience they bring to the classroom, not all of the content descriptions for a particular band may be relevant to a student in those year levels.

Some students may have already learned a concept or skill, in which case it will not have to be explicitly taught to them in the band stipulated. Other students may need to be taught concepts or skills stipulated for earlier bands. The content descriptions in the Australian Curriculum: The Arts enable teachers to develop a variety of learning experiences that are relevant, rigorous and meaningful and allow for different rates of development, in particular for younger students and for those who require additional support.

Some students will require additional support to develop their skills in specific Arts subjects. It is expected that appropriate adjustments will be made for some students to enable them to access and participate in meaningful learning, and demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skills across the five Arts subjects. To provide the required flexibility, teachers need to consider the abilities of each student and adopt options for curriculum implementation that allow all students to participate.

This might involve students using modified tools, materials, technologies or instruments to create or perform works. Teachers might consider varying the form in which students respond to a work: moving or drawing, for example, rather than writing or speaking, or working collaboratively rather than individually.

Teachers use the Australian Curriculum content descriptions and achievement standards firstly to identify current levels of learning and achievement, and then to select the most appropriate content (possibly from across several year levels) to teach individual students and/or groups of students. These take into account that in each class there may be students with a range of prior achievement (below, at or above the year level expectations) and that teachers plan to build on current learning. Organisation of the curriculum in bands provides an additional level of flexibility that supports teachers to plan and implement learning programs that are appropriate for all students and make best possible use of available resources.

Teachers also use the achievement standards at the end of a period of teaching to make on-balance judgments about the quality of learning demonstrated by the students – that is, whether they have achieved below, at or above the standard. To make these judgments, teachers draw on assessment data that they have collected as evidence during the course of the teaching period. These judgments about the quality of learning are one source of feedback to students and their parents and inform formal reporting processes.

If a teacher judges that a student’s achievement is below the expected standard, this suggests that the teaching programs should be reviewed to better assist individual students in their learning in the future. It also suggests that additional support and targeted teaching will be needed to ensure that students are appropriately prepared for future studies in specific Arts subjects.

Assessment of the Australian Curriculum: The Arts takes place at different levels and for different purposes, including:

  • ongoing formative assessment within classrooms for the purposes of monitoring learning and providing feedback to teachers to inform their teaching, and for students to inform their learning
  • summative assessment for the purposes of twice-yearly reporting by schools to parents and carers on the progress and achievement of students.
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