Science, technology and mathematics classes in Australian schools are to receive $7.5 million for new projects through the second funding round of the Australian School Innovation in Science, Technology and Mathematics (ASISTM) initiative. Funding grants of between $20,000 and $120,000 have been awarded to 99 project clusters comprising 640 schools and 344 partner organisations from the scientific community, universities, industry, education authorities and the wider community. As part of the ASISTM cluster projects, the initiative is also expected ultimately to employ around 1,300 teacher associates such as university students, researchers and other specialists in these fields. Teacher associates will help teachers inspire students by bringing 'real-life' science, technology and maths experiences into the classroom. A list of successful Round Two projects and further information about ASISTM, including future funding rounds, eligibility and criteria for projects to be funded, is available from the project website. See media release 6 April 2006 by the Minister for Education, Science and Training Julie Bishop.
Australian Government Education Minister Julie Bishop has attacked Western Australia’s Outcomes Based Education curriculum, saying that it was ‘inevitable’ that standards would fall as a result of hasty and under-resourced implementation. See article in The Australian 3 April 2006.
Australian Government Education Minister Julie Bishop has confirmed that the Department of Education, Science and Training will review the funding system for non-government schools. The system has 'delivered multi-million-dollar windfalls' since it was introduced in 2001, according to a report in The Australian 6 April 2006.
Approximately 750 schools are to test the new A–E grading system for school reports in Victoria. The reports will be compulsory for all government schools next year. Independent schools will be required to adopt a five-point scale but not to use the A–E grading, according to a report in the Herald-Sun 4 April 2006.
Findings of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 1999 Video Study have been released by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). The quality of Year 8 science teaching in Australia has been strongly endorsed by the study, but concerns were raised at the low emphasis placed on student-directed investigations and the generally basic level of content covered in the lessons. Fifty-seven per cent of Australian lessons focused on content that was generally at only a basic level for Year 8 and would have offered limited challenge for students, particularly more able students. The TIMSS 1999 Video Study investigated Year 8 Science teaching in Australia, Japan, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and the USA. In Australia the study involved 87 Australian teachers and around 2,000 students from a national random sample of schools representing all regions and school sectors. See ACER media release 5 April 2006.
In Queensland the 2005 school reports on Year 12 outcomes have been published in metropolitan and regional newspapers. The data provide a snapshot of school outcomes for students in the State who finished Year 12 in 2005. The public release of this data is part of the Queensland Government’s Changes to School Reporting initiative, announced in October 2004. It has been compiled from data provided to the Queensland Studies Authority (QSA) from Queensland schools and the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre. The data show that Queensland’s Year 12 students are graduating from high school with the skills and qualifications to follow a range of work, further education and training pathways.
The Northern Territory Government is continuing to consult with schools and community groups over the implementation of its Middle Years Principles and Policy Framework. Models for showing how a middle years program could operate at a regional level have recently been released for discussion. The Government has outlined its intention that the middle years will refer to Years 7 to 9 in the Territory.
The Northern Territory's Department of Employment, Education and Training (DEET) and Charles Darwin University's School of Education are developing a suite of new teacher education courses tailored to the needs of the Territory. The courses will commence in 2007. The program will increase students' teaching time as co-professionals in a classroom or other learning site. See report in inFORM March 2006 p1.