How were the progressions developed?

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), in partnership with NSW Department of Education, led the development of national collaborative action to develop the progressions from mid-2016 to the end of 2017.

During 2016, version 1 of the National Literacy and Numeracy Learning Progressions was developed, in consultation with literacy and numeracy experts (refer to Appendix 5), using available evidence of the learning sequences for literacy and numeracy development. Appendices 1–4 outline research used in the development of the progressions.

Reflects growing interest in learning progressions

The use of learning progressions is of increasing interest to educators as it builds on other theories of the developmental nature of student learning.

A considerable body of research shows that optimal learning occurs when learners are presented with challenges just beyond their current level of attainment. This is what Vygotsky (1978) referred to as the ‘zone of proximal development’ (Masters 2013, p. 15).

A learning progression can be described as a common pathway of conceptual development or a sequence for learning or acquiring a new skill.

Learning is conceptualised not simply as a matter of acquiring more knowledge and skills, but as progressing toward higher levels of competence as new knowledge is linked to existing knowledge, and deeper understandings are developed from, and take the place of, earlier understandings (Pellegrino, Chudowsky & Glaser 2001, p. 115).

Trialled in Australian schools

Version 1 of the progressions was trialled by 602 teachers in 137 Australian schools between March and May 2017. State and territory school and curriculum authorities nominated trial participants. Trial participants gave comprehensive feedback about the usability of each progression in locating student literacy and numeracy development and determining the learning that should follow.

Validated against NAPLAN student performance data

During late 2016 and early 2017, ACARA mapped NAPLAN test items to the progressions to support validation of aspects of the progressions. This resulted in specific suggestions for improvement.

Improved based on school trial and validation data

Further improvements were made on the basis of analysis of findings from the trial and NAPLAN validation work.

From early July to 23 August 2017, consultation on version 1.1 of the progressions took place with all state and territory school and curriculum authorities, key national ACARA advisory groups and a selection of literacy and numeracy researchers and experts.

Further NAPLAN validation work and the development of linkage advice to the Australian Curriculum learning areas and the NAPLAN performance scale occurred between July and August 2017. This work was used to inform the progressions.

Findings from consultation and further validation informed the development of version 2 in September 2017. Version 2 was approved by the ACARA Board in October; Schools Policy Group and AESOC in November; and Education Council in December 2017.