As part of its school reform agenda ahead of the federal election on Saturday 21 August, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) has announced it will develop a national online diagnostic tool for students, parents and teachers if re-elected. The online tool will complement the National Curriculum and National Assessment programs set up by the Rudd Government.
The program is centred on a new website, to be launched progressively in 2011, and aims to assess every Australian student’s performance and provide feedback, allowing parents and teachers more accurate information about individual students’ learning capabilities and needs. The website will provide various assessment tools, a digital test bank, directory of curriculum resources and links to pre-existing educational ICT networks. Teachers and parents will be awarded individual registration and access to the website.
In a statement posted on the ALP website on 9 August, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Simon Crean, said the initiative will provide significant educational benefits in a broad range of areas.
“These materials will help Australian students to develop their literacy and numeracy skills as well as a much wider range of knowledge, from science and languages to information and communications technologies themselves.
“A re-elected Gillard Government will support the development of this digital facility and work with schools and education providers to make it available to all schools and parents,” they said.
Election costing documents reveal that the initiative will cost $39.8 million over four years, with various components including:
- $22.2 million for a teacher tools website;
- $10.0 million for a parents tools website;
- $5.8 million for the provision of online NAPLAN sample assessments; and
- $1.8 million for various departmental costs.
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority will be responsible for the program’s administration. Intermedium expects a number of opportunities for suppliers in regard to this project over its lifetime.
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