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Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
ISSN: 1448-0743
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Curriculum and assessment: closing the gap

Jane Weston
Martin Murley
Conference Co-convenors

Curriculum Corporation's 12th annual conference, Curriculum and Assessment: Closing the Gap, is being held at the Sofitel Brisbane Hotel in Brisbane on 2–3 June 2005, and has attracted more than 400 of the country's leading educators.


The conference will examine the crucial and complex relationship between curriculum and assessment and propose that there is a need to close the gap. What the gap is and how it can be closed in order to improve student learning outcomes will be explored from many perspectives. How can assessment sit more effectively inside the curriculum? How can it be integrated into good pedagogy, feeding back continuously into student learning rather than being predominantly something that teachers do to students at the end of their learning? How can we close the achievement gap between social groups?


Led by internationally renowned researcher and educator Dr Barry McGaw AO, Director for Education at the OECD, the conference will consider the collection and use of assessment data by systems, schools and teachers, and the reporting of student progress. The importance of the link between curriculum and assessment will be examined by exploring the impact of testing programs, the design of curriculum for deeper learning, and the social competence agenda.


The Curriculum Corporation conference has over the years provided a forum for important national curriculum reflection and discussion. While the delivery of education is the responsibility of States and Territories, and many would argue that this model encourages innovation in education practice, there are great benefits in regularly taking the national education pulse and providing an opportunity for policy makers and practitioners to come together in a spirit of cooperation to share successes and debate future directions. The Curriculum Corporation conference website offers readers a repository of conference papers from past years, and represents important leading edge education thinking over time.


This year’s conference is designed to match theory with practice, and to build a strong conference narrative. It aims to take participants on a journey that both posits questions and proposes solutions. The conference design also responds to an audience profile which sees a majority of school-based curriculum leaders (70%) mixed with senior State and Territory curriculum leaders and policy makers.


To achieve this mix of theory and practice, key note presenters will be partnered with practitioners. Show me sessions, conducted by practitioners will focus on current and exemplary school practice. Feedback sessions will enable delegates to discuss central questions from the keynote sessions with their peers, and to interact directly with the speakers on stage through a question and answer format. Dr McGaw will draw the central ideas together at key stages throughout the program and close the conference with a challenge for schools and the broader education community.


Another feature of the conference is the continuation of the Curriculum Corporation Future Educator Leadership Award. Now in its second year, the purpose of the Award is to provide pre-service teachers with the opportunity to attend an education conference of national significance, network with over 400 of the country's leading educators, and participate in a discussion around some of the major issues on the education agenda. This year, eight pre-service education students from Queensland University of Technology and the University of Southern Queensland have won the right to a Master Class with two of the international keynote speakers, Ms Mary Chamberlain, New Zealand Ministry of Education, and Dr Barry McGaw. The students will prepare questions and meet informally with the speakers at the end Day One of the conference.


This year’s conference is sold out. However, interested readers will find the conference papers on the Curriculum Corporation website shortly after the conference. 


Subject Headings

Teaching and learning
Educational evaluation
Education policy
Curriculum planning