The preliminary report of the Donnelly-Wiltshire review of the national curriculum has been released, having been with the Minister since the end of March. (Earlier background.) The final report will be with the Minister (though not necessarily released) at the end of July. As Daniel Hurst notes in the Guardian Australia, there is virtually no hint in the 17 page interim document of what will be in the final version. It is all about process.
Three points worth noting though: the number of submissions received (1500); the breadth of the groups the reviewers sought out for consultation, including those likely to be strong supporters of the current curriculum as well as its likely critics; and these words in Appendix C, which scopes the work (the words we have bolded being of particular importance):
Subject area specialists will provide an analysis and evaluation of the following factors across the whole learning area being reviewed:
the content of the learning area, as specified in the subject’s content descriptions and content elaborations, particularly relating to its:
robustness (defined as academic rigour, structure and sequencing, detail, clarity, succinctness and evidence of a foundation of aims, values, and principles)
balance (including a comprehensive inclusion of key core and basic knowledge facts, concepts and themes, without bias as to selectiveness of content and emphasis)
scope for choice and flexibility in curriculum delivery without undue encouragement of the adoption of ephemeral or other practices which are not evidence based.
The remarks about balance, bias and selectiveness will be of interest to those historians and teachers who believe that all history is interpretation.
18 June 2014