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The importance of “non-curriculum” learning attributes such as self-directed learning and independence, has become a major focal point for the redevelopment of many learning areas within the Australian Curriculum. Skills of motivation and personal drive are more often being linked these days to successful job acquisition and job satisfaction than skills learned through other more traditional learning areas. This makes us wonder about what else may be up for a change when it comes to the way we look at learning from a young age.
In this last month, the time has come again for students to receive their highly anticipated final school results, illustrating the incredible national need for tutoring. This result, which takes the form of an OP, TER, ENTER or UAI is the first of many confusions and complications when it comes to aggregating the results of Australian students each year. The sluggish rollout of the national curriculum has resulted in a further layer of confusion, when many schools must now teach across two curriculums rather than just the one, depending on the availability of curricula in the school. When it gets to final exam time it is no surprise therefore that students are finding it tough, particularly when applying (more and more) to interstate Universities, to interpret this final exam mark (and in the case of University administration, allocate positions - raw data can be found here). Perhaps a great deal of this confusion suffered however, can be attributed to an increasing number of preparation exams and state assigned tests (as is the case most prominently in Queensland with the QCS) external to school finals, designed to average the overall performance of the cohort. This strict testing regime is now starting younger and younger, with end of term finals as part of the year 8 curriculum becoming commonplace in schools. The question is rapidly becoming: is there no place for rigorous testing in younger years, or is it never too early to become prepared?
When questioned about the necessity of budget allocations or educational reforms, the answer received from both an informed and an uninformed public is always rather clear-cut. Educational progress has become synonymous with both social progress and the quality of life into future generations. It is not hard to believe therefore, that supplementary education programs, such as private tuition after school hours, are becoming more highly sought after as the years progress.