Implementing National Curriculum Statements and Profiles: Policy Contexts, Political Constraints and Educational Practices

Year: 1995

Author: Kennedy, Kerry, Sturman, Andrew, Marland, Perc

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Abstract:
Implementing National Curriculum Statements and Profiles: Policy Contexts, Political Constraints and Educational Practices.

The five year national curriculum exercise was brought to an end in December, 1993. Since then, the products of that exercise have undergone change and transformation as State governments and their bureaucracies have grappled with implementation issues. This process has led not so much to a centralised and directive national curriculum as a diffused and fragmented approach at local levels of implemention.

Yet little is known about either policy or practice related to implementation processes pursued at local levels.

The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to report on the research methodology and the preliminary results of a three year project that has been funded by the Australian Research Council to examine political constraints, organisational contexts and teachersA implicit theories as they affect the local implementation of national curriculum statements and profiles. During the first year of the project, data relating to current system policies and school practices have been collected from all States and Territories.

A preliminary analysis of these data shows that, from a policy perspective, implementation has been determined by the changing priorities of State governments and in some cases by a change in government itself. The political orientation of these governments does not seem to determine commitment or otherwise to implementation. It seem clear that issues such as outcomes based reporting have been commonly adopted across systems yet there remain differences in approach and attitude to particular content to be included in the school curriculum. It seems that Australia has opted not so much for a national curriculum as a curriculum driven by common national concerns (eg international competitiveness) and particular local issues (eg commitment to particular forms of knowledge).

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