Developmental sequencing and content changes
The Australian Curriculum is not a nested curriculum. It contains only the major learning goals for each year level as a way of thinning out a crowded curriculum, but it doesn’t fill the gaps between those goals. When you are planning, you need to begin by looking at the content descriptors for the year level below, then look at your year level, then the next year level. Look for what students need to know to be able to move from one to the other, then plan your teaching sequence. If you are using Back to Front Maths, developmental sequencing is built into the sequence of lessons in the Lessons Bank and also into the adaptable work programs in the Planning Tools to make sure that students deeply understand what they are learning while also covering the curriculum content requirements.
Gaps in the curriculum also run the risk that teachers may miss addressing underlying student misconceptions. If you are concerned, or would just like to read more about diagnosing and fixing misconceptions, click here. For subscribers of Back to Front Maths, diagnostic tasks for misconceptions and questioning sequences for addressing them are built into the Journal Problems so that you can deal with issues while still implementing the Australian Curriculum for your class.
The profiency strands are not an added-extra to the curriculum – they describe the “real maths” (Kim Beswick, AAMT), or “the verbs” of the curriculum (Prof. Peter Sullivan, principal author of the Framing Paper and curriculum).
They also form the basis for assessment, which is set out clearly in the Framing Paper. For those of you using Back to Front Maths, make sure to check out the Assessment Bank which has criteria sheets, information on when and how to assess and even moderation tasks to ensure consistency across your school.
Here’s a quote from ACARA to help explain the focus on proficiency strands in the Australian Curriculum:
“The curriculum focuses on developing increasingly sophisticated and refined mathematical understanding, fluency, logical reasoning, analytical thought and problem-solving skills. These capabilities enable students to respond to familiar and unfamiliar situations by employing mathematical strategies to make informed decisions and solve problems efficiently.
The curriculum anticipates that schools will ensure all students benefit from access to the power of mathematical reasoning and learn to apply their mathematical understanding creatively and efficiently. The mathematics curriculum provides students with carefully paced, in-depth study of critical skills and concepts. It encourages teachers to help students become self-motivated, confident learners through inquiry and active participation in challenging and engaging experiences.”