National exams for 5-year-olds
The Minister for Education, Science and Training, Dr Brendan Nelson, has announced an intention to implement a national literacy test for children entering the school system, so that any literacy weaknesses can be detected and remedied in their early years of schooling. A national report on literacy, Teaching and Reading, is due to be released 8 December. For more information see Samantha Maiden's article in The Australian 26 November 2005.
Year 12 English move to come under scrutiny
The terms of reference for a national study, which will rank Year 12 English, literature, mathematics, physics and chemistry curriculums, have been released by Dr Brendan Nelson, Minister for Education, Science and Training. The nation-wide comparison is expected to examine Year 12 curriculum standards across educational jurisdictions, including requisite hours of study and assessment. It's anticipated that the move away from literary texts in some English curriculums will be closely examined. For more information see the article by Chee Chee Leung in The Age 24 November 2005.
Youth arts program expansion to help young artists (Qld)
A schools program, linked to the Young Artists Mentoring Program (YAMP) and the Transit Lounge Creative Industries Youth Arts Resource Centre, will be implemented to assist young people to enter the creative arts, and, hopefully, to find careers in that sector. The Queensland Minister for Education and the Arts, Rod Welford, announced that the two arts initiatives will receive an additional $75,000 a year – over a period of three years – to create a website and establish a schools program to assist young artists. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement 23 November 2005.
Students 'to be or not to be' filmakers (Qld)
Years 11 and 12 students in Queensland have been invited to create a Shakespeare-inspired, contemporary, five-minute screenplay, as part of the World Shakespeare 2006 Schools Education Program. Students responsible for creating the winning script will work with the University of Queensland to convert their work into a short film, which, in turn, will be shown at the Brisbane International Film Festival in 2006. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement 21 November 2005.
State system fails brightest children (UK)
A longitudinal study of high-achieving students in England has found that only a third of students in state schools who achieved in the top 5 per cent when tested at age 11 attained 'As' in their final year of secondary school. Students in independent schools, however, were over-represented in the higher grades in the final assessment, accounting for 33 per cent of those achieving an 'A' or better. For more information see the article by Polly Curtis in the Education Guardian 25 November 2005.
Struggle over Intelligent Design continues in USA
The Kansas state education board has voted to endorse 'anti-evolution' school standards, according to New Scientist magazine 19 November 2005. However, opponents of Intelligent Design (ID) won a victory in the USA when local residents voted out eight out of nine members of the Dover Area school board in Pennsylvania. The board had promoted ID, provoking widespread publicity and a lawsuit from some parents.
Victorian students invited to help change the world
Year 6 students at Victorian schools will receive an adaptation of the best-selling book, 50 Ways to Change the World for Ten Bucks. The initiative, supported by the Victorian Government and the charity, Pilotlight, aims to empower young people to contribute to positive change in their communities, and among their families and friends. For more information see the Media Release 30 November 2005.
ASX share market game
Approximately 81,000 school students across Australia have taken part this year in the Australian Stock Exchange's Schools Sharemarket Game. The game provides hands-on experience of internet 'share trading' over ten weeks. Students play the Schools Sharemarket Game as part of a school subject or as an extra curricular activity.