Education Ministers Meeting

2 July 2021

Following the cessation of the former Council of Australian Governments (COAG) process in 2020 alternative arrangements have been put in place for Commonwealth/State collaboration in a range of areas. The Education Ministers Meeting replaces the former Education Council and met today.

Education Ministers from across the country have today agreed to make changes to national standardised testing in Australian schools aimed to better inform teacher practice. They agreed in relation to the NPLAN regime:

  • that the writing test would continue to be conducted as a census test;
  • that the testing of spelling, grammar and punctuation (Conventions of Language) will be separate from writing as part of the annual census-based standardised assessment program;
  • that ACARA would work with jurisdictions to explore the feasibility of shifting of the test as early as possible in the school year and turn around test results in two weeks;
  • that the assessments remain in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9;
  • that ACARA investigate the feasibility of incorporating critical and creative thinking in English and Mathematics into the existing NAPLAN domains, with advice to be provided to the next Education Ministers’ Meeting.

There was also in-principle agreement to enabling schools to “opt-in” to assessments in the domains of Science Literacy (including critical and creative thinking), Digital Literacy and Civics and Citizenship annually in Year 6 and Year 10 and Ministers requested ACARA further develop the proposal for the next meeting. 

Ministers also discussed a range of other matters including:

  • progress on key national reform initiatives including the Unique Student Identifier and the Online Formative Assessment Initiative,
  • teacher workforce issues, and 
  • the Commonwealth Preschool funding proposals.

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